Publish Date

Reaching Stellar Priority Set to Become a Reality with Center for Lincoln Studies

UIS has scheduled its grand opening for the Center for Lincoln Studies for February 12, 2021 – the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. You can register for the virtual grand opening celebration by clicking this link. The Center is one of five stated priorities of the Reaching Stellar capital campaign that seeks to raise $40 million for UIS by 2022. Now that the dream of the Center is becoming a reality, it is expected to be a national base for scholarship, teaching and public history about Lincoln’s life, leadership and legacy. “I want people to come in and get the feel that amazing things are going to be happening here,” said Anne Moseley, Acting Director of the Center for Lincoln Studies.

2020 Beaumont Endowed Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series

Join us virtually for the 2020 Beaumont Endowed Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series on Wednesday, October 14 at 7 p.m. CST. This year’s program will focus on Lincoln and the American Political Tradition with professors Dr. Lucas Morel and Dr. Diana J. Schaub, experts in the field. Both scholars will discuss Lincoln’s admiration for the American Founding, and Dr. Michael Burlingame will moderate and provide an overview. This topic is not only timely in our national discussion but also provides a historical perspective on the importance on the foundation of democracy. Register for the Zoom Webinar online today.

New Scholar for the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies

The UIS Center for Lincoln Studies will be announced during the next academic year, but plans are progressing nicely. In April, at the annual Celebration of Philanthropy on April 17, 2019, Chancellor Susan J. Koch made this announcement:
“Just this past week, thanks in part to UI System President Tim Killeen’s Distinguished Faculty Hiring initiative, we sealed the deal to hire our second renowned Lincoln Scholar.  He will join Dr. Michael Burlingame in the Department of History this Fall as we move toward the formal announcement of the new UIS Center for Lincoln Studies.”
Stay tuned for further updates about this important addition to the Center!
The UIS Center for Lincoln Studies is a Reaching Stellar Campaign priority…
Because Lincoln still instructs, inspires and elevates all of us.

Lincoln Legacy Lecture | Save the Date

Each year, Dr. Michael Burlingame, the Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair of Lincoln Studies, invites nationally renowned Lincoln scholars to join him in presenting original lectures on a contemporary issue from the perspective of Abraham Lincoln and his era. These very popular Lincoln Legacy Lectures link us to a time when many of the biggest issues of democracy came to a head, issues that are still pertinent today.
Save the Date for the 2019 Lincoln Legacy Lecture with the topic of Lincoln, Immigration, & Citizenship. The event will be held on Tuesday, October 15, 2019, in the UIS Student Union. A reception with light refreshments will begin at 6pm with the lecture to follow at 7pm. RSVP online today or call 217.206.6058.
The UIS Center for Lincoln Studies is a Reaching Stellar priority because…
Lincoln still has the power to instruct, inspire and elevate all of us.

Chancellor Koch on Abraham Lincoln

Each month, Chancellor Koch writes a column for a local newspaper, the Springfield Journal-Register. In February 2019, she wrote about UIS and Abraham Lincoln.* Here is an excerpt in which she writes about the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies:

Lincoln Studies at UIS will take another important step forward in the coming year with the formal launch of the Center for Lincoln Studies – a priority of the current Reaching Stellar fundraising campaign. With planning underway for collaboration with the ALPLM, the Abraham Lincoln Association and other Lincoln-oriented organizations, the Center will provide new opportunities for learning about Lincoln and the impact of his contributions. The Center also aspires to advance research in Lincoln Studies and help prepare the next generation of Lincoln scholars.

This new Center is an important priority for the Reaching Stellar Campaign…because Lincoln still has the power to instruct, inspire and elevate all of us.

A February Celebration of Lincoln’s Character

On February 11, 1861, Abraham Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois, for Washington, D.C. on a special presidential train. His Farewell Address to the crowd was delivered extemporaneously. The following is the version Lincoln wrote down after the train pulled away.

My friends — No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feeling of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of these people, I owe every thing. Here I have lived a quarter of a century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of the Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in Him who can go with me, and remain with you and be every where for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me, I bid you an affectionate farewell.*

These words reveal a man whose character can inspire UIS students as they study his life and works in the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies…
…because Lincoln still has power to instruct, inspire and elevate all of us.
Photo attribution: Public Domain,

Chancellor Koch Narrates Copland’s “Lincoln Symphony”

On October 18, 2018, during the Illinois Symphony Orchestra performance of Aaron Copland’s “Lincoln Portrait,” UIS Chancellor Susan Koch read texts from Lincoln’s State of the Union address, the Gettysburg Address, and selections from a Lincoln-Douglas debate. It was the Symphony’s season-opening performance and was chosen to celebrate both Lincoln and Illinois.
During this brief video from the Illinois Symphony’s “Lincoln Portrait,” Chancellor Koch says, “Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, is everlasting in the memory of his countrymen.” The UIS Center for Lincoln Studies will celebrate the wisdom and legacy of this great Illinois statesman. Learn more about the Center here, and please consider adding your support to this great scholarly endeavor.

Happy Thanksgiving!

With Thanksgiving coming soon, it’s worth remembering that on October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving. He did so after receiving a request from Sarah Josepha Hale, that the day of thanksgiving be celebrated on the same day throughout the United States “to become permanently an American custom and institution.” Prior to this, states that celebrated Thanksgiving, mostly in New England and other northern states, chose their own day of celebration. Our country has celebrated Thanksgiving every year since Lincoln’s proclamation.
Best wishes for your own celebrations, and many, many thanks to the wonderful friends and alumni of UIS who have given and will give during this year of 2018.
Because Lincoln still instructs, inspires and elevates us all

2018 Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series

The 2018 Lincoln Legacy Lecture, sponsored by the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies, will take place on Thursday October 18, 7:00 pm in the Student Union Ballroom.  The event is free and open to the public. This year’s topic was Lincoln vs. Douglas: Slavery and Race in Illinois History. Attendees from UIS, Springfield, and farther afield joined speakers Dr. Graham Peck, Professor of History, St. Xavier University and Rodger Bridges, Former head of the Lincoln Legal Papers, and moderator Dr. Michael Burlingame, Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies.

Agnes M. Dzombak | Books about Lincoln

UIS is pleased to accept a special collection of books from the estate of Agnes M. Dzombak, a longtime Lincoln enthusiast. She collected the books during her lifetime, including eight books by Dr. Michael Burlingame, who holds the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at UIS. Agnes Dzombak’s son, David Dzombak, Professor and Head of the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, arranged the gift. He said, “Michael Burlingame’s affiliation with UIS provides further confirmation that UIS will be a good home for the collection. Perhaps my mother had the opportunity to meet Dr. Burlingame sometime at the annual Lincoln Forum in Gettysburg, which she attended every year since its founding in 1995.”
The Agnes M. Dzombak collection is an outstanding contribution in support of the new UIS Center for Lincoln Studies. It will be housed in Brookens Library.

Richard Raymond | First Scholarship for UIS Center

Richard Raymond, UIS alum, began his National Park Service career as a curator during the restoration of the Lincoln Home the late 1970s. Now he has created the first scholarship for the new UIS Center for Lincoln Studies.
“Abraham Lincoln’s is a great American tale,” Richard says. “He rose from a log cabin to a pleasant home in Springfield on a street of doctors and lawyers. As President, overnight he had to deal with the issue of slavery, and after the war, instead of subduing the conquered, he planned for reconstruction as only a statesman would. Lincoln is certainly worthy of study and emulation.”
Pictured at right: Dr. Devin Hunter—UIS History Professor, Michelle Levine—UIS student and Park Service intern, Richard Raymond—National Park Service RET, Chuck Schrage–UIS Alumni Relations at the Lincoln Home in Springfield. More about Richard.

Students at the Capitol

Why have a UIS Center for Lincoln Studies?

Springfield is the right place to establish a national center for the study of Abraham Lincoln’s life, his era, his leadership, and his legacy, and UIS is the perfect place for this ambitious endeavor. In Springfield, Lincoln lived and raised a family, practiced law and politics, and prepared for the presidency. Today, Mr. Lincoln’s hometown is a hub for Lincoln research and tourism, attracting thousands of visitors each year from around the globe. But while Lincoln was a citizen of Illinois from 1830-1861, he ultimately became a citizen of the world, so connecting Lincoln to a national and international context will be a mission of the Center, as well.

Local Lincoln Leaders

One of the goals of the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies at UIS is to enhance public education about Lincoln’s life and legacy. With that in mind, during this early phase for the Center, UIS academic and administrative leaders have been meeting with representatives from local organizations with a Lincoln interest to share plans, discuss ideas with local Lincoln leaders and lay the groundwork for future collaboration.
Because Lincoln continues to instruct, inspire and elevate all of us.

Approvals Secured

In January 2018, the UIS Campus Senate approved the new UIS Center for Lincoln Studies at UIS, and in March 2018, The Illinois Board of Higher Education added its approval. Special thanks to James Ermatinger, Dean of the UIS College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, for everything he did to negotiate this process. The UIS Center for Lincoln Studies at UIS is expected to be a national base for scholarship, teaching and public history about Lincoln’s life, leadership and legacy, and give students an opportunity to collaborate with Lincoln scholars on research, history and public policy projects. Because it will engage broad campus and community audiences, the Center will add to the wealth of all things Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois.

Dr. Michael Burlingame

Dr. Michael Burlingame will be a important asset to the UIS Center for Lincoln Studies. He is the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies and an internationally renowned scholar who has published twelve books on the life and times of Abraham Lincoln. His work “Abraham Lincoln: A Life,” a two-volume biography, was honored with Gettysburg College’s 2010 Lincoln Prize, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the 2009 Russell P. Strange book award from the Illinois State Historical Society for the best book on Illinois history. It was also listed as one of the five best books of the year 2009 by The Atlantic Monthly. Read more about Dr. Michael Burlingame.

Lincoln Legacy Lecture Series

On November 19, 2002, the Inaugural Lincoln Legacy Lecture took place at UIS. The series has been held every year. More than 5,000 students and community members have attended the lectures over the years, including 600 who attended a special symposium in April 2015 before a re-enactment of Lincoln’s Funeral. Unique to the lecture series is a dual focus on issues important to Lincoln and still important to us today. The lecture series has been sponsored by the Center for State Policy and Leadership, in cooperation with the Chancellor Naomi Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies. Learn more about the Lincoln Legacy Lecture series.