By John Ostapkovich
VOORHEES, N.J. (CBS) — It’s been 50 years since President Kennedy was assassinated, but in many ways the name is still very close to our daily lives.
There’s JFK Boulevard in Philadelphia, and JFK Plaza (although better known today as “Love Park”), and there was that big stadium in South Philadelphia until it was torn down in 1992.
In South Jersey, one of the best known uses of the name “Kennedy” is the Kennedy Health System. President and CEO Joseph Devine says it goes back to the founding of its first hospital.
“The original name was going to be Valley General,” he recalls. “John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, so when they were planning this in 1964, the organizers decided it may better serve the community if they named the hospital John. F. Kennedy Hospital.”
Devine says that over the years, they dropped the late president’s first name from the hospital’s name:
“They decided to take out the JFK terminology and just call it Kennedy Memorial Hospitals, so we of course over the years have always embraced that, because some of the biggest advocates for health care and social issues were the Kennedys. Even though John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Ted Kennedy was a tremendous advocate for health care across this country.”
More recently, in looking for an innovative name for a physicians’ group, Devine says marketing experts told them, pick something with Kennedy in it.
“So to change your name for the sake of changing it doesn’t always add up for us,” he adds.
Stay tuned to KYW Newsradio 1060 and CBS Philly all week long for a special series of reports marking the 50th anniversary this Friday of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.