Los Alamos National Labs with logo 2021

Presidential visits

Many public figures have toured the Lab, including several senior government officials.
July 6, 2020
Colored portrait illustrations of President Kennedy, President Reagan, President Ford, and President Clinton.

From left: President Kennedy, President Reagan, President Ford, and President Clinton.CREDIT: Los Alamos National Laboratory

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By John Moore

President KennedyPresident Kennedy travels down Main Street in Los Alamos.

On December 7, 1962, President John Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon Johnson traveled to New Mexico for a briefing on the details of Project Rover, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory’s program to develop nuclear rocket engines for space travel.

Kennedy addressed Los Alamos residents at the high school football f ield. “There is no group of people in this country whose record over the last 20 years has been more pre-eminent in the service of their country than all of you here in this small community in New Mexico,” he said. “We want to express our thanks to you. It’s not merely what was done during the days of the second war, but what has been done since then, not only in developing weapons of destruction which, by an irony of fate, help maintain the peace and freedom, but also in medicine and in space, and all the other related fields which can mean so much to mankind if we can maintain the peace and protect our freedom.”

After his speech, Kennedy rode down Central Avenue in a motorcade (pictured) on his way to the Los Alamos airport.

 


President Reagan President Reagan standing outside a building with a group of men.

Former Hollywood movie star and future president Ronald Reagan visited Los Alamos in April 1967, when he was governor of California. At that time, the Laboratory was managed entirely by the University of California system.

 


President FordPresident Ford sitting at a table; photos hang on the wall behind him.

Gerald Ford visited the Lab on July 12, 1975, shortly before becoming president in August.

 


 President ClintonPresident Clinton talking to Sig Hecker and several other men.

Bill Clinton visited twice during his presidency—once on May 13, 1993, and again on February 4, 1998. Here, he is with then-Lab Director Sig Hecker and others.