Lincoln College celebrates 155th Charter Day
Illinois' Historian Dr. Samuel Wheeler bestowed honorary doctorate

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[February 14, 2020]  LINCOLN - It was an evening rich and full in special guests, ceremony and entertainment at Lincoln College's 155th Charter Day this past Friday. The event was held in the Johnston Center.

Rev Glen Shelton

Dr. David Gerlach

LC Trustee Rev. Glenn Shelton opened with an invocation followed by a welcome from Lincoln College President David Gerlach.

Senator Bill Brady


Left to right:  Representative Tim Butler, Dr. David Gerlach, Dr. Samuel Wheeler

Left to right:  Butler, Shelton, Lincoln Mayor SEth Goodman, Gerlach and Wheeler

Special guests included State Senator Bill Brady, State Representative Tim Butler and Lincoln Mayor Seth Goodman, all who came bearing proclamations for the auspicious achievement by Lincoln College.

Shelton and Susan Hoblit

Board of Trustees Chairman Susan Hoblit sponsored and introduced keynote speaker, Dr. Samuel Wheeler.

Wheeler serves as the 10th State Historian of Illinois. Hoblit said Wheeler specializes in the diverse history of Illinois and the remarkable life of Abraham Lincoln. He is the Director of Research for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library.

Through his interests and passion for history, Dr. Wheeler earned a number of degrees including a Ph.D, has distinguished himself producing many varied and valued scholarly works on Illinois, Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. He also is responsible for keeping the state's most treasured artifacts.

Awarded by a number of academia institutions, recognized writer and communicator locally and nationally for his historic expertise, a revered past college teacher, contributor to scholarly periodicals and historical commissions, Dr. Wheeler has a lighter side too. 

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As Hoblit mentioned that he has written on "the historic baseball rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals," it brought chuckles.

Hoblit concluded, "For his life-long commitment to historic research and his service to the people of Illinois, it is appropriate that Dr. Samuel Wheeler receive this honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters."

Left to right:  Goodman, Butler, Shelton, LC Vice-President Michelle Baldwin, Gerlach, Wheeler, Hoblit

College Vice President Michelle Baldwin facilitated the conferral of the honorary degree and President Gerlach presented the hood and degree.

Dr. Samuel Wheeler responded, I am "deeply humbled" to be the recipient of this honorary doctorate from "the oldest college in the world, named after America's greatest President." He said, "It's an honor I never expected, but I will spend the rest of my professional life operating in a manner worthy of this prestigious honor."

Wheeler then shared the stunning life story of how a man with less than a year of formal education journeyed out of the wilderness to ascend to the highest office in the land, that of the Presidency. Abraham Lincoln's remarkable legacy, his legislation and leadership indelibly mark us today.

You can read some of the highlights from Wheeler's talk by returning to the Top Stories page.

Hoblit also shared that her own educational path began at Lincoln College in 1983. Her education rendered fullness in life that included running a successful business and contributing to organizations in her community and beyond.

Lincoln College students provided music through out the program.

The talented pianist, Dajaun Stewart, played the processional in and out, accompanied the choir and in singing of the Alma Mater. His robust closing prompted smiles and spontaneous harmonizing by the choir.

Student soloist Calia Cole sang the National Anthem beautifully.

The Gospel Choir led by the incomparable Quentin Brackenridge, who is known to set audiences to rocking, evoked deeper sentiments through an Hezekiah Walker song, "I need you to survive."

Rev. Shelton returned to close the evening with a heart-felt doxology delivered from memorization and benediction.

A reception followed.

[Jan Youngquist]


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