Johnson's first visit as Vice President took place at the college’s 58th annual commencement ceremonies on May 28, 1961. Though he had a prepared speech, Johnson quickly tossed it aside and spoke to the new graduates from his heart. Johnson implored graduates to fight and eradicate democracy's three biggest enemies: illiteracy, disease, and poverty. He challenged students “to love freedom and liberty so much that you want everybody to have a little bit of it.”
Johnson returned just a year later for the 59th annual commencement in May 1962, where he received the first ever honorary Doctor of Law Degree conferred by the college. Johnson did not speak, but rather just smiled and nodded in appreciation. A special rendition of “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" was played in his honor.