You Do Know About the Weddin’, Don’t You? But You Probably Don’t Know the Whole Story!

This would be the wedding of Luci Baines Johnson, younger daughter of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson to Patrick John Nugent, August 6, 1966 at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

Side Bar: The bride wore an a-line taffeta gown, with a nine-foot-long Watteau court train that fell behind her starting between her two shoulder blades. It was created for her by Priscilla of Boston.  Pricilla herself attended the wedding to make sure the bride and her dress were both magnificent!

The bridesmaids were dressed in a fluff of pink.

The wedding cake was 8 feet tall.

Well, in the words of a comedian of the day “it was a wedding to which nobody [was] invited except the immediate country!” 700 people actually attended the ceremony at the Shrine but an entire nation, and probably much of the world, watched it on TV.  They say 55 million people watched the broadcast. It was considered the most lavish wedding of any presidential daughter, one befitting royalty.

Many of the before wedding parties, the display of wedding gifts and the reception after the wedding were held at the White House.

Luci and her father, President Lyndon Baines Johnson

Luci and her father, President Lyndon Baines Johnson

But before all of the festivities and joy surrounding the wedding actually began, there  was one very serious question that had to be considered --- should Luci actually accept Pat’s proposal?   The answer could change her life!

She could say yes. With this answer she would commit to Patrick and follow him through-out the rest of her life. She loved him, after all.  

Or, she could continue her courses at Georgetown University, where she was studying to become a nurse. She was passionate about nursing and loved nursing school.

It was 1965 and doing both of these was not an option. You see, back then Georgetown University had a policy that nursing students could not be married. All of the nursing students were women and it was thought that a woman could not give her nursing studies and duties sufficient attention if she were also taking care of a husband and/or children. The lives of women in the mid-60’s were a bit more restrictive than they are today.

So 19 year–old Luci Baines Johnson, after just two semesters of nursing school, forgot nursing and married Patrick Nugent. She chose marriage over nursing.

FYI --- Georgetown University abolished this policy in 1967, one year after Luci and Patrick married. 

Luci Baines Johnson 2018.jpg

Luci never received a degree from Georgetown --- that is until this year.

On May 19, 2018, Luci Baines Johnson (age 70) delivered the commencement address at Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies and accepted an honorary doctorate in nursing awarded to her by the University, fifty-two years after she dropped out of college.