McConnell Center celebrates 20 years
Aug. 26 - McConnell Center's mission, opportunities and scholarships expand over the past two decades.
During the 2011-2012 academic year, the McConnell Center will be marking its 20th year on the campus of the University of Louisville. Over those years, we have nurtured more than 200 young leaders and supported them with more than $2 million in scholarship money. We have hosted such major political leaders as Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas, Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden. We have also brought authors, scholars and experts to the Louisville community as part of our public lecture and conference series. Our programs have garnered national attention on TV, radio and in print. Our studies have been cited in scholarly articles, and our conferences have resulted in new books.
U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell recently said, “I am very proud of what the Center has accomplished during its first two decades, and I know that under the leadership of Gary Gregg and his outstanding staff, we have only begun to see the impact it will have on our Commonwealth and our nation.” We are as confident as Sen. McConnell that this milestone is only the beginning of what our Center and students will accomplish.
McConnell Scholars Program
Though we just launched a group of outstanding students into the world (two heading overseas as Fulbright Scholars and another as a Rotary Ambassador, one heading to the Ivy Leagues for law school, and several others working or starting their graduate education), we also just welcomed an outstanding new crop of McConnell Scholars. They come from all over Kentucky and bring an energy with them that is proving infectious. Applications for high school seniors are available as of September 1 for those hoping to win a coveted slot in our next class of scholarship students.
American History Public Lecture Series
This year we hope you will all join us in our vibrant community of learners. Statistics clearly indicate the embarrassingly low state of knowledge of American history. On one recent national test, for instance, only 12 percent of high school seniors scored proficient in American history. We want you to join us in helping correct this dismal state of civic knowledge.
We have launched a yearlong effort to revisit American history and remind ourselves of those people, events and places that made our nation what it is today. First, we hope you will pick up a copy of Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People and read along with us. Use our reading guide to digest this excellently written and comprehensive volume in 36 weeks. (That's about three pages a day, and we think you can fundamentally transform your knowledge of our nation and our people!)
We also hope you will visit us for a monthly lecture series that will correspond to the reading from the Johnson book. We are bringing in some really outstanding speakers and authors who you will not want to miss. Our first event, scheduled for 6 p.m., Sept. 7, features the author of The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown.
Lastly, we hope you will join our online community to discuss your readings and thoughts about American history and the project itself. Or, start your own book club among your friends and every student you know!
If we all join in this effort to promote a better knowledge of American history, we can be sure that our country will be stronger and our students better prepared for the challenges ahead.
Civic Education Program
Our Civic Education Program continues to make outstanding progress for elementary, middle and high school teachers and students. We continue to offer more content-specific professional development opportunities.
McConnell-Chao Archives & Civic Education Gallery
We invite you and your family to visit the U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao Archives. Our civic education gallery brings people in direct contact with archival material. With this engaging outreach program, the McConnell Center and the University of Louisville hope to create a greater awareness and appreciation for primary sources and their importance in documenting the past to understand the present. Be sure to check out our two national award-winning films.
It's Happening Here
We look forward to working with you during the coming year and hope to see you Sept. 7.