John McCain spoke at UofL in 2009.
John McCain spoke at UofL in 2009.

The late Senator John McCain visited the University of Louisville in November 2009, just one year after he was defeated by Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential elections.

According to the UofL News archives, the senator, former naval aviator and prisoner of war provided a reflection of his military service to the campus community, emphasizing the sacrifices of military men and women.

“We must not forget what they did and the debt we owe them,” he said. “America doesn’t depend on the heroism of every citizen. All of us must be grateful for the sacrifices made on our behalf.”

McCain also stressed the importance of serving a cause greater than oneself.

McCain was on campus as a guest of the McConnell Center. Following the talk, he met with McConnell Scholars and attended an invitation-only opening of the Mitch McConnell and Elaine L. Chao Archive.

About 800 people attended the senator’s talk, which remains available online here

McCain passed away on Saturday, Aug. 25 at the age of 81 after suffering from a malignant brain tumor called glioblastoma.

He will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, an honor bestowed on only 31 people in 166 years. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who helped facilitate McCain’s UofL visit, announced the decision of congressional leaders from both parties, calling McCain “a great American patriot, a statesman who put his country first and enriched this institution through many years of service.” 






Alicia Kelso
Alicia Kelso is the director of social media and digital content. She joined UofL in 2015 as director of communications at the Brandeis School of Law. She also serves as a senior contributor at, writing about the restaurant industry, which she has covered since 2010. Her work has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Bloomberg, The Seattle Times, Good Morning America and Franchise Asia Magazine.