As Kennedy took to the lectern around 10 A.M. that Wednesday morning, the stadium’s bleachers brimmed with a sweltering crowd of 40,000 or more. Fall semester classes were yet to begin, and the president’s audience members were mostly Rice freshmen, newly arrived on campus for orientation. Even at this early hour, temperatures looked set to soar to some 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius), as suited officials rhythmically tugged handkerchiefs from pockets to vigorously mop their brows. Perhaps aware of their discomfort, Kennedy pledged that his lecture would be brief.
NASA, Rice University Mark 60th Anniversary of Kennedy’s Moon Speech