Harold Holzer to deliver opening convocation prior to Lincoln statue unveiling
Scholar Harold Holzer will deliver this year’s Opening Convocation address at 7 p.m. on Sunday, August 26 in Newlin Hall before the unveiling of Centre’s newest outdoor sculpture: a statue of President Abraham Lincoln created by acclaimed artist Ed Hamilton.
Holzer, senior vice president for external affairs at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is a premier scholar of Abraham Lincoln and the American Civil War. He served as co-chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission (ALBC) for nine years, as appointed by President Bill Clinton, and has written prolifically about Lincoln.
“Harold Holzer is the most important Lincoln scholar in the world, and we are greatly honored that he agreed to give the opening convocation address,” says Milton Reigelman, director of the Center for Global Citizenship and J. Rice Cowan Professor of English. “It takes your breath away to realize that any one person could have such a depth and breadth of knowledge about our sixteenth president. Is there another scholar who has written 42 books, hundreds of articles and made countless television appearances about his subject?”
Beyond his published work, Holzer has also curated museum exhibitions about Lincoln. He has performed in his own stage productions about Lincoln across the country, including at the White House and at Ford’s Theatre, the site of Lincoln’s assassination. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2008 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and President George W. Bush.
After Holzer’s convocation address, everyone is invited to proceed to the front of Crounse Hall, where the statue of Lincoln will be unveiled. The statue, funded by an anonymous donor, depicts Lincoln reading a law book lent to him by John Todd Stuart, Class of 1826.
“We’re excited to have on Centre’s campus this 12-foot statue of the person who is arguably the nation’s greatest president and undoubtedly Kentucky’s finest contribution to the life of the nation,” says Richard Trollinger, vice president for college relations. “We’re also excited to have this work of art created for us by renowned sculptor Ed Hamilton.”
Hamilton, who lives in Louisville, is world-renowned for his public art. He sculpted a statue of Lincoln that stands at Waterfront Park in Louisville. In addition, a sculpture in honor of black Civil War veterans, “The Spirit of Freedom,” stands in Washington, D.C. Hamilton is also a published author, having written an autobiography, “The Birth of An Artist: A Journey of Discovery,” in 2006.
Holzer will be signing copies of his newest book, “Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory,” in the Doherty library immediately after the unveiling of the statue. All are welcome to attend.