In anticipation of the kick-off event, we asked Dr. Woodard and Library Director Charlotte Knoche to tell us more about how President Lincoln's legacy continues to affect us all.
What interests you about Lincoln and this time in American history?
Woodard: Lincoln is the most interesting individual in American history! Everyone should know something about him. From his youth on the prairie to his leadership skills—he is the consummate American icon. Students should also know something about the Civil War. Over 650,000 Americans died in this conflict—why? This war made the nation what it is today. It is essential to understand it. We can’t possibly understand the present if we have no historical context.
Knoche: Abraham Lincoln serves as such a wonderful role model for today’s politicians – and for all of us. His leadership style was not autocratic or heavy handed, but based in a desire to serve and humility. His gentle storytelling was persuasive and enabled others to understand his perspective without losing face. He rose to the top office of the land but was able to remember his roots and what it was like to be a common man. He was motivated by service and not by greed. Many of our politicians today, and all of us, could learn a lot from him.
What excited you most about hosting this exhibit?
Woodard: The exhibit is so professional, so well-organized, and contains so much important information. It gives our students the opportunity to examine Lincoln and the Civil War in a non-classroom setting. What a great way to gain an introduction into these topics. Everyone on campus should go see this exhibit.
How does the exhibit complement the library's mission? What about Concordia's mission?
Knoche: As an educational institution, we look for ways to present relevant information to our students in a variety of formats. This exhibit, put together by the Constitution Center, The National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Library Association was obviously very carefully thought out and designed. It is really a class act and packs a lot of information in a delightful, easy-to-read fashion. I believe that all of us will enjoy visiting this exhibit multiple times. There is so much in it, it is almost impossible to take it all in in one visit.
What are some reasons students should check it out?
Woodard: Most students will probably not read a book about Lincoln, the Civil War, or the constitution. But they might walk through an exhibit and see some issues that interest them. It gives them a gateway into these topics.
Anything else you want to share?
Knoche: Only 50 libraries were selected throughout the country. It is uplifting that the grantors considered us worthy of being one of the selected sites. I believe that this is because they value our mission and the diversity of our campus.
Woodard: Come to my convocation on Wednesday!