USM Presents ‘Celebrating Lincoln & The Constitution’

1/22/2013 12:00:00 AM

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Feb. 12-March 22; All Events Free and Open to the Public 

Celebrating Lincoln & The Constitution

(Leavenworth, Kan.)—Building on the 15-year-old University of Saint Mary tradition of honoring Abraham Lincoln at the university’s annual Lincoln Event, USM for 2013 presents Celebrating Lincoln & The Constitution—a month of free Lincoln-centered programs running from mid-February to late March.
Information on the slate of individual events is available online at All of the events will be held on USM’s Main Campus in Leavenworth, at 4100 South 4th Street.
The centerpiece of the program is Lincoln, the Constitution & the Civil War, a traveling exhibit for libraries, on display at USM’s De Paul Library through March 22. The public is invited to attend the exhibit’s opening from 11 a.m.-noon on Tuesday, Feb. 12, featuring an introduction to the exhibit by Dr. Bryan Le Beau, USM’s academic vice president.
The National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized the traveling exhibition, which was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): great ideas brought to life. The traveling exhibition is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center. As part of the exhibit, the NEH provided Saint Mary with a grant that helped support a number of the related events.
The traveling exhibition is composed of informative panels featuring photographic reproductions of original documents, including a draft of Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment.
Other key dates in USM’s Celebrating Lincoln program include:

  • The annual USM Lincoln-Douglas Debate from 11:15 a.m.-noon in the Mead Hall Walnut Room on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The yearly debate features teams of USM students arguing prominent issues in the style of the event’s namesakes, and the debate is judged by Kansas First Judicial District Judge Robert Bednar.

    This year, the student teams will debate the pros and cons of tougher gun control laws in the wake of recent tragic mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo.

  • The 15th Annual Lincoln EventLincoln Executive Power & the Constitution featuring Dr. Jennifer Weber, associate professor of history at the University of Kansas. The Lincoln Event is at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 18 (Presidents’ Day), in USM’s Xavier Theatre. Seating is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis.

    Dr. Weber is the author of Copperheads and co-editor of The Struggle for Equality. She specializes in the Civil War and her active interests include Abraham Lincoln, the 19th century U.S., war and society, and the American presidency. Her talk will look at how Lincoln expanded the power of the executive branch.

    Dr. Weber’s appearance is made possible by Country Club Bank of Leavenworth and Lansing, the Lincoln Event benefactor. 
  • An Evening with David Von Drehle: Lincoln & The Emancipation Proclamation at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 25 in USM’s Xavier Theatre. Attendees will get a chance to meet the speaker at a book signing immediately following the event.

    Von Drehle is a Kansas City-based author and editor-at-large for Time magazine. He’s the author of four books, including Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America's Most Perilous Year. Von Drehle’s talk will look at Lincoln’s extraordinary growth as a leader, an executive, and a military commander under the most extraordinary pressure ever faced by a U.S. president.

    Von Drehle’s appearance is made possible by Country Club Bank of Leavenworth and Lansing.
“In December 1859, Abraham Lincoln visited Leavenworth, Kan., where, some would argue, he presented his first speech in his 1860 presidential campaign,” said USM Academic Vice President Dr. Bryan Le Beau. “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.”
The University of Saint Mary started the annual Lincoln series in 1999 to acknowledge the university’s Bernard H. Hall Lincoln Collection, which includes extensive and unique Lincoln memorabilia. USM’s De Paul Library houses the collection, which includes a rare, original copy of the 13th Amendment—the document that abolished slavery—signed by Lincoln.
Over the past 14 years, USM’s primary Lincoln Event has featured a variety of luminaries for the Lincoln Event. Previous guests have included politicians, historians, U.S. Army generals, best-selling authors, and actors who’ve portrayed first lady Mary Todd Lincoln and President Lincoln himself.
Call 913-758-6308 or go to for more information on USM’s Celebrating Lincoln & The Constitution.