Closure ceremony hosts keynote speaker

The Sims Memorial Library hosted keynote speaker JoAnne Barry during the closing ceremony of the traveling exhibit, “The Constitution and the Civil War,” on March 24. The ceremony was held on the third floor of the Sims Library in the area in front of the Morrison Room.

The ceremony began with opening remarks made by Dr. Lynette Ralph, assistant director of the Sims Library. Ralph also introduced the winners of the library’s essay contest for high school students.

“The essay topic was what President Lincoln would think of the world today,” said Ralph. “By their responses to this question, the students have demonstrated a knowledge of current events and their ability to think critically. To all of them, good job well done.”

Three out of approximately 40 applicants were chosen. First place was E’keidra Lanehart of Belair High School, second was Marcella Zabala of Northshore High School and third place was awarded to Kentrell Edwards, also from Belair High School. Certificates and books on Lincoln as a writer were given to winners. Also, monetary rewards were given according to placement.

Following Ralph, Dr. William Robison, head of the history and political science department, reflected on his involvement with the exhibit. Robison jokingly admitted that he did very little regarding the exhibit and instead gave credit to the members of his department and the library staff. After his time on the podium, he shared his thoughts on the exhibit.

“People tend to have a more simplistic view of Lincoln, and I think the exhibit showed a more complex representation of him,” said Robison.

Barry’s lecture was the final part of the ceremony and focused on Lincoln’s life as president, the founding of Washington, D.C. and its culture and life during the Civil War. Barry placed particular emphasis on Lincoln’s love for reading, music and theatre, despite his lack of a formal education.

“I think that even as an uneducated man, he was open minded and always sought improvement” said Barry. “He’s a role model in that sense.”

Barry is a native of Alexandria, Virginia and received her undergraduate degree in music at James Madison University and her master’s degree in library science at Bradford University. She currently volunteers in the Sims Library’s cataloging department and frequently performs piano with her husband, Dr. Kenneth Boulton, associate professor of piano and interim director of the Columbia Theatre.

The exhibit, now gone from Southeastern, will travel to the Texas A&M for display.