||Lincoln expert and author to visit campus as part of Centre's Year of Lincoln activities
RELEASED: September 4, 2008
Ferguson will speak in Newlin Hall at 7:30 p.m., with a reception immediately following. These two events are open to the public.
Incoming first-year students at Centre are assigned a required reading book, and this year the book selection committee decided to tie the reading into the campus's celebration of Abraham Lincoln. Members of the committee perused or read more than 20 books before unanimously choosing "Land of Lincoln."
"Everyone who surveyed Ferguson's eclectic book immediately concluded, 'That's it!'" says committee member Milton Reigelman, professor of English and director of international programs. "We were looking for something that a wide variety of incoming first-year students would not only read cover-to-cover, but also be excited about. Ferguson's inclusiveness and intelligent journalistic style were just what we were searching for."
Penelope Wong, committee member and assistant professor of education, says that Ferguson's book about Lincoln was the only one she didn't want to put down.
"Nothing is sacred to Ferguson. Lincoln haters and Lincoln admirers alike are given their say, and their responses are fascinating—and often entertaining," Wong says. "On the literary road trip through Lincoln historical sites, Ferguson provides the reader with not only scholarly information about Lincoln, but also fascinating glimpses into what ordinary people around the United States think of him."
Centre kicked off its "Year of Lincoln" during the 2008 Brass Brand Festival held in Danville in June. The College received a Kentucky Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (KALBC) grant through the Kentucky Historical Society to help fund "Strike Up The Band: Lincoln Comes Home," a play telling the story of Lincoln and his lifelong friend and law partner John Todd Stuart. Written by Mike Norris, director of communications, the play featured acclaimed Lincoln presented Dean Dorrell, Will Johnston '03 as John Todd Stuart, and Stan Campbell, director of library services, as the historian. Click here for the text of the play.
Stuart, Centre Class of 1826, helped set Lincoln on the road to extraordinary success. In 1832, he loaned his good friend Lincoln—who was at the time contemplating a career as a blacksmith—his first set of law books with which to study. After Lincoln passed the bar, Stuart became his first law partner.
Wong says that all Centre students should learn about Lincoln.
"No matter what one might feel about his policies and legacy, he was undisputedly one of the most influential individuals in the 19th century," she says. "For that reason alone, it would seem necessary to have a basic understanding of this individual. I think it's important for people—not just students, but anyone—to have the opportunity to discuss and examine Lincoln 'the individual' in an intellectual setting."
The book selection committee members hope that these and other special campus events, along with the traditional book discussions, will result in engaging conversations and examinations of Lincoln throughout the year.
Centre will continue its Year of Lincoln events with a convocation September 17 featuring Herman Belz, a constitutional historian. Belz will make a presentation titled "Abraham Lincoln and the Constitution." Centre will also host a symposium February 12-14, 2009, in conjunction with the Kentucky Heritage Commission and a number of other organizations, examining Lincoln, African Americans and the Constitution.
- end -
Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
600 W. Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422