James A. Garfield, the 20th president of the U.S. and the second principal of what became Hiram College, is an important part of the College’s legacy. Four Hiram students recently honored that legacy when they presented as members of a panel on “Garfield in Congress” at the second annual Garfield Symposium on Saturday, Nov. 7 at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio. The students, Mackenzie Barry ’16 of Twinsburg, Ann Riddle ’16 of Mayfield, Bishop Sanders ’17 of Urbana and Cole Soldo ’17 of West Chester, are Garfield Presidency Scholars in the College’s Garfield Center for the Study of the American Presidency.
“These four Garfield Presidency Scholars leapt at the opportunity to present their research at this important conference, prepared diligently and performed admirably,” said Doug Brattebo, Ph.D., director of the Center and associate professor of political science at Hiram. “The audience members – from fellow college students to authors and college professors – paid compliments to the Scholars at the panel’s conclusion.”
Each Scholar spoke on a specific aspect of Garfield’s service in the U.S. House of Representatives and Brattebo served as moderator and provided an introduction. The Scholars did extensive research to become knowledgeable on certain aspects of Garfield’s career in order to prepare for the presentation.
“One of the greatest things about a small liberal arts college is that faculty members know students well enough to identify the best venues for them to showcase their research,” said Dr. Brattebo. “As a result, undergraduates gain an appreciation for the professional conferences that will be a major part of their work in graduate school and professional life.”
The presentation began with Soldo’s portion, which focused on “Garfield’s Stance on Slavery and African-American Rights.” Riddle then spoke about “Currency and the Gold Standard: Garfield and Finances.” Sanders discussed Garfield’s involvement in the Crédit Mobilier Scandal as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Barry provided background on Garfield’s relationships with various political figures, including Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant.
“Mackenzie, Ann, Bishop and Cole represent the best that Hiram College has to offer. It will be fascinating to see the accomplishments that are sure to characterize their futures,” said Dr. Brattebo.
About the Symposium
The Garfield Symposium, which was sponsored by The Friends of James A. Garfield, took place Nov. 6-7, 2015 at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site and Lakeland Community College. According to The Friends of James A. Garfield organization, the purpose of the Symposium is to link multiple sites connected with the life and work of the former president. The event’s theme this year was “Garfield in Washington” and the speakers included, among others, James A. Garfield, III, president of The Friends of James A. Garfield National Historic Site; and keynote speaker Dan Vermiliya, a ranger with the United States National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park and author of “James Garfield & the Civil War” and “The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.”
About the Garfield Center for the Study of the American Presidency
The newest center of distinction at Hiram College, the Garfield Center for the Study of the American Presidency honors Hiram College’s connection to 20th U.S. President James A. Garfield, who was a student at the College and served as its highest leader. Each year, the Center chooses a different American president to study, with students examining issues that get to the very core of presidential leadership. Through various on-campus activities, study trips, reflective assignments and outreach activities, Garfield Presidency Scholars gain profound appreciation for the president as person, a historical figure and a leader within the broader and complex governmental system. For more information visit: http://www.hiram.edu/american-presidency.