Big Grant to Support Lincoln Studies

Galesburg, IL – The Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College is a big winner in this year's "We The People" challenge grant program.

The Center will receive $850,000 from the grant program, which is administered by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Center has to raise $2.5 million in matching money.

The "We The People" program supports teaching and study of American history.

Knox College Vice President for Academic Affairs Lawrence Breitborde says the money will be used to create an endowment. "It will guarantee that the center is able to continue even beyond the current co-directors," says Breitborde.

The co-directors are renowned Lincoln scholars Rodney Davis and Douglas Wilson. The Lincoln Studies Center was supposed to be their retirement project, but as Breitborde points out, "We sometimes jokingly refer to it as their failed retirement because it just mushroomed into a much bigger and successful project than anyone imagined."

The money will allow Knox to continue staffing the Center with a senior Lincoln scholar, to continue conducting cutting-edge research, and to expand the Center's lecture program.

The school won't receive the money all at once. "Periodically they look at how much money we've raised, and then in relation to that we get a portion of the money they're giving us," says Breitborde. He says Knox has five years to raise the $2.5 million.

The Lincoln Studies Center is housed in an office in Old Main on the Knox College campus. It's the only building remaining from the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates. The debate in Galesburg was the fifth of seven between the two men. It took place on October 7.

It's hoped the Lincoln Studies Center can eventually move to a new location on campus in order to offer public exhibits. There is no target date for making the move.