The University of Saint Mary is celebrating 15 years of its annual Lincoln event the same year that Lincoln’s signature executive accomplishment turns 10 times as old.
The University of Saint Mary is celebrating 15 years of its annual Lincoln event the same year that Lincoln’s signature executive accomplishment turns 10 times as old. The 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution enshrining the abolition of slavery that followed in 1865 will be up front and center for this year’s Lincoln Event, themed “Celebrating Lincoln and the Constitution.” The event began in 1999 as a way to celebrate the university’s then-new Bernard H. Hall Lincoln Collection, which includes a copy of the 13th Amendment signed by the 16th president. But the significance of Lincoln here also extends past the collection. “In December 1859, Abraham Lincoln visited Leavenworth where, some would argue, he presented his first speech in his 1860 presidential campaign,” said USM Academic Vice President Dr. Bryan Le Beau in a release from the university. “This year, as the nation celebrates the sesquicentennial of the Civil War (1861-1865) and of the Emancipation Proclamation (1863), our annual celebration of Abraham Lincoln will be better than ever.” More than a month of Lincoln-related events sponsored by the university along with Country Club Bank in Leavenworth and Lansing will kick off with its centerpiece, “Lincoln, the Constitution and the Civil War,” a traveling library exhibit organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office that will feature panels featuring information on and photographic reproductions of original documents like Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, the 13th Amendment and the Emancipation Proclamation. Housed at USM’s DePaul Library through March 22, the exhibit will open with a presentation from LeBeau at 11 a.m. Feb. 12. From 11:15 a.m. to noon the next day in the Walnut Room at Mead Hall, the university will host its annual Lincoln-Douglas Debate, featuring teams of students debating the pros and cons of more gun control laws, with District Court Judge Robert Bednar naming the winner. The annual Lincoln Event will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 18 in USM’s Xavier Theater. University of Kansas associate professor of history Dr. Jennifer Weber will speak on “Lincoln Executive Power and the Constitution.” Specializing in the Civil War and with interests in Lincoln, the American presidency and 19th century America, Weber is the author of “Copperhead” and the co-editor of “The Struggle for Equality.” The event is free and open to the public, though seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis. The final event of the Lincoln series this year will be “An Evening with David Von Drehle: Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation,” scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb. 25 in Xavier Theater. Von Drehle is a Kansas City-based author and editor at-large at Time magazine and has written four books, including “Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln.” He will speak on Lincoln’s life as a leader, executive and military commander and will be available to sign books and meet audience members after the presentation. Call 913-758-6308 or go to stmary.edu/lincoln for more information on USM’s "Celebrating Lincoln and the Constitution" program.