Ceremony on Campus Honors Rich Tradition of College and Connections to Lincoln’s Legacy

LINCOLN, IL — Lincoln College shares a tremendous legacy with President Abraham Lincoln. The college named for the 16th president just two months before his death celebrates its 150th anniversary throughout 2015, starting with a Charter Day program on Feb. 8 reflecting on that legacy.

On a cold day in December 1864, commissioners traveled to central Illinois looking for a place to locate a new college. Gray skies turned sunny as they arrived at what would become the location of University Hall, the campus’ first building. They took it as a sign from God. On Feb. 6, 1865, Lincoln College was chartered. President Lincoln was notified shortly thereafter by letter from his friend Robert Latham. The school – then known as Lincoln University – was dedicated on Lincoln’s last living birthday, Feb. 12, 1865.

Lincoln College leaders will welcome faculty, students, alumni and distinguished speakers and guests to campus on Sunday, Feb. 8, at 2 p.m. at the Johnston Center for Performing Arts to celebrate its sesquicentennial with a Charter Day program. The public is encouraged to attend the program, which will include:

  • Welcome and invocation from Lincoln College President John Blackburn
  • Opening remarks from LC Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Neal
  • Presentation of a legislative resolution honoring LC’s 150th anniversary by state Rep. Rich Brauer
  • Honorary degree presentation and remarks from Dr. Wayne Temple, an internationally recognized authority on Lincoln. Dr. Temple will talk about “Abraham Lincoln: The Hay Family Recollections”
  • A discussion of Lincoln between Dr. Temple and Lincoln Heritage Museum Director Ron Keller
  • A brief Q&A session with Dr. Temple and the audience
  • A reception after the ceremony

Dr. Temple, the keynote speaker, is a keen and accomplished historian and one of the preeminent Lincoln scholars. He is one of 30 people around the world to be honored by the state of Illinois with the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial edition of the Order of Lincoln. He was a member of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission’s Advisory Committee that worked to commemorate Lincoln’s 200th birthdate celebration in 2009.

Dr. Temple is also a prolific writer, authoring a number of books in recent years about Lincoln’s life and times. He will have several books available at the Charter Day ceremony to be signed and purchased.

The Charter Day program is the first of several events planned by Lincoln College to recognize the school’s rich history and accomplishments throughout its 150th year, including a tie-in with the historic events planned in Springfield later this spring around the sesquicentennial of Lincoln’s death.

Lincoln College encourages the public to attend Charter Day and share their memories of the college over the years as they celebrate the 150th milestone.

“Since 1865, Lincoln College has provided a unique educational experience for many students from different backgrounds and around the world, and we could not be prouder to say we are a strong and vibrant college as we turn 150 years old,” LC President John Blackburn said. “Charter Day is a special way for us to open the campus and say thank you to those who have helped us make Lincoln College what it is today. We are honored to hear and learn from Dr. Temple, and to receive this resolution from Rep. Brauer and our legislators in Springfield. We are excited about the program for Charter Day and look forward to having a great celebration of our college.”