Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin featured at 2013 convocation

By Albert Shelby

January 30, 2013

It has been announced that acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin will be headlining this year’s 20th annual R. Dan Boulware Convocation on Critical Issues on Oct. 22nd.
The program is scheduled to start at 10a.m. in the Looney Complex arena. The convocation will be free and open to the public. According to an MWSU news release, the title of Goodwin’s Convocation speech will be “Team of Rivals: The Leadership Lessons from Abraham Lincoln”.
Goodwin published her book, titled “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” in 2005. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg directed the film “Lincoln,” which was released in November of 2012, and is based on Goodwin’s book.
A Long Island native, Goodwin graduated from Colby College with her Bachelor’s degree, while also achieving her Doctorate in Government at Harvard University.
In 1995, Goodwin received the Pulitzer Prize for History for the work she did on her book, titled “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II”. The book covered the lives of President Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor during the ending of the “Phoney War” stage of World War II and the death of the President in 1945.
Jonathan Yordy is the vice president for university advancement and the executive director of the MWSU Foundation here at Western and that same foundation donates funds to the Convocation.
“The convocation itself is called the R. Dan Boulware Convocation on Critical Issues at Missouri Western State University,” Yordy said. “It’s about people coming together and speaking about our nation’s critical issues.”
Yordy noted that he feels the purpose of the convocation is to bring in figures from around the nation that have their opinions and ideas on different issues such as environmental issues, oil usage, the economy, and other things of that nature.
“It’s a coming together, to speak on a critical issue facing our public,” Yordy said. “It’s pulling somebody into our community, a national figure, and hearing what that national dialogue is about.”
Leadership is one of the critical issues Yordy says is important right now in our nation and Goodwin could very well give us some insight on that topic.
“This year, we chose Doris Kearns Goodwill, who is a great historian,” Yordy said. “We are really thrilled to have her here. You could say that the issue is leadership, political leadership. With Doris Kearns Goodwill, she brings us the question of how can we use Lincoln as a lens to view the current issues that face us.”
Dr. Patrick McLear is a professor of history at Western and he was very familiar with the works of Goodwin. He was also very informative of the life of former President Abraham Lincoln.
McLear noted that Lincoln was not a very popular president, but he felt that Lincoln never let that intervene with his job. McLear said that this could very well be what Goodwin is aiming to her readers.
“We have to remember that Lincoln was not as popular as you might think,” McLear said. “As kids, we think of him as an exceedingly popular individual. This may go to Goodwin’s point, and the point is, given the fact that he did not have that much popular support, he was still able to accomplish his goals.”