Dedication Day events illustrate Gettysburg College's ties to Lincoln legacy

Dedication Day

Nearly 150 years after the Civil War's pivotal battle and the Gettysburg Address, Gettysburg College remains strongly connected to the legacy of President Abraham Lincoln.

Highlights of the College's unique living link to the 16th president include students' annual march to the site of Lincoln's Address, some of the nation's foremost academic programs and resources relating to the Civil War era, and prestigious annual Civil War book awards for non-fiction and fiction.

The College plays a key role in Dedication Day events each Nov. 19, marking the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Some highlights of this year's schedule include:

• Stephen Lang, actor and playwright, known for his roles as General Pickett in the movie "Gettysburg" and Stonewall Jackson in "Gods and Generals," will speak during a 9:30 a.m. wreath-laying ceremony at the Soldiers National Cemetery.

 

 

• Prof. Gabor Boritt, director emeritus of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College, will deliver the Gettysburg Address at 4 p.m. at the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church, 208 Baltimore St.

• UCLA history Prof. Joan Waugh will deliver the College's 50th Annual Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture, at 7:30 p.m. at the Majestic Theater one block north of the town square. The lecture, "'The Rebels Are Our Countrymen Again': U.S. Grant and the Meaning of Appomattox," is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Gettysburg College's Civil War Institute and Department of History. A live-streaming video will be available at . (A free, public discussion of Waugh's book, U.S. Grant: American Hero, American Myth, is planned Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. in the Lyceum of Gettysburg College's Pennsylvania Hall, near North Washington and West Stevens streets.)

• Also at Nov. 19's Fortenbaugh lecture, the $5,000 Michael Shaara Prize for Excellence in Civil War Fiction will be awarded to Robin Oliveira for her book "My Name is Mary Sutter." The prize honors the memory of the author of The Killer Angels and was established by his son, best-selling author Jeff Shaara.

Gettysburg College, along with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, annually awards the $50,000 Lincoln Prize for non-fiction, announced on Lincoln's birthday. Past winners include documentarian Ken Burns and historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Eric Foner.

Gettysburg College's historic setting provides unparalleled educational opportunities, like the annual First-Year Walk, when the new class processes through town to hear the Gettysburg Address at the National Cemetery, as students and citizens did Nov. 19, 1863. David Wills, an 1851 graduate of Gettysburg College (then Pennsylvania College) who invited Lincoln to speak. The night before the Address, Lincoln stayed at Wills' house on the town square, which is open to the public for tours.

The College's Department of Civil War Era Studies - created in 1998 with funding from the Henry R. Luce Foundation and directed by Allen Guelzo, the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era - provides an academic minor and the Gettysburg Semester, which offers students from other schools a half-year immersion in Civil War studies.

The College's Civil War Institute - founded in 1983 by Prof. Emeritus Gabor Boritt and directed by Peter Carmichael, the Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies - serves undergraduate and graduate students, the public, and scholars with its summer conference, support of internships in national parks and museums, and more. The 901 Stories from Gettysburg blog explores the battlefield through rarely seen artifacts, documents, and images. Each entry is researched and written by a Gettysburg College student while serving as a Civil War Institute Fellow.

Both organizations collaborate with the College's Department of History, of which Guelzo and Carmichael are members.

The College is looking ahead to the 150th anniversary of the Battle and the Address. President Janet Morgan Riggs has appointed a 2013 Committee that will coordinate campus commemorations and collaborate with planners of community events.

Gettysburg College recognized the importance of its ties to Lincoln early on. Classes were cancelled Feb. 12, 1909, to mark the centennial birthdays of Lincoln and Charles Darwin. Students attended a lecture on Darwin in the morning and one on Lincoln in the afternoon. According to the student newspaper, The Gettysburgian, both men had worked to achieve "the freedom of man from the shackles which so long had held him down." More recently, Boritt served on the National Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Boritt and former College President Gordon Haaland were members on the Pennsylvania Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission appointed by Governor Edward Rendell.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college, which enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students, is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Jim Hale, associate director of editorial services

Posted: Fri, 11 Nov 2011

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