Activism and Protest: Ken Burns Student Event – February 10, 2023

February 10, 2023
President Robert W. Iuliano
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

As Delivered.

Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to this very special Gettysburg College event.

As Gettysburgians, we talk a lot about A Consequential Education and what it means to live a consequential life in service to the greater good. It is at the heart of everything we do here.

Today, you have the unique opportunity to learn from a person who has led a truly consequential life.

A person who has deepened our understanding of the American story, and the responsibilities entrusted to each of us to contribute our own verse to it.

Of course, I am speaking of our honored guest—world-renowned documentarian and friend of the College, Ken Burns.

Few individuals throughout our nation’s history have had a more profound impact in shaping American discourse than Ken Burns.

In a moment, Professor Udden will help to contextualize the impact Ken has had on the art of filmmaking—and on our culture more broadly—and how his timeless works have challenged us to grapple with the defining issues of our time.

But before I turn over the microphone, Ken, on behalf of our entire Gettysburg College community, I want to express my deepest thanks for joining us today and for your willingness to share your experience and your wisdom with our students.

I want to specially note your focus in this afternoon’s session on activism and protest. Just up the road from here, Abraham Lincoln spoke about the importance of advancing the “unfinished work” of our democracy. The starting point for that work is a willingness to get engaged, to be heard, and to question the status quo. 

Students, we tell stories for a reason. There is power in narrative. It is a catalyst for change. Today, you will hear from one of the best to ever do it. 

Be curious, ask questions, and enjoy this wonderful occasion.

Thank you.