52 Years ago, President John F. Kennedy – JFK – was named Man of the Year by Time Magazine.

John F. Kennedy was president for only 1,000 days, from his 1961 inauguration to his assassination in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. In naming JFK 1961′s Man of the Year (1/5/62), TIME wrote, “In his first year as President, John Fitzgerald Kennedy showed qualities that have made him a promising leader … Those same qualities, if developed further, may make him a great President.”

In 1960, Kennedy narrowly defeated Richard Nixon to become the 35th — and first Roman Catholic — president of the U.S. He led the U.S. through several international crises, including the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and he increased the American military commitment to South Vietnam. Domestically, he endorsed major civil rights legislation, and challenged Americans to land a human on the moon by the end of the decade.

(Kennedy with Astronaut John Glenn at Cape Canaveral)

In Time Magazine’s stated rules of selection, the individual or group of individuals who has had the biggest effect on the year’s news is chosen for “Person of the Year.’ Shockingly, the designation was only changed from ‘Man of the Year’ to ‘Person of the Year’ in 1999.

Based on the stated criteria, controversial figures have been chosen as Person of the Year, including Adolf Hitler in 1938, Joseph Stalin in 1939 and again in 1942, and the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

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