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President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77 to speak at 2018 Dedication Day ceremony

Gettysburg College President Janet Morgan Riggs ’77, a well-known and beloved member of the Gettysburg community, will speak at this year’s Dedication Day ceremony. This year’s ceremony will be held November 19th in Soldiers' National Cemetery at Gettysburg National Military Park.

“I am humbled to have been asked to speak on this occasion, and I will strive to offer some thoughts that reinforce the relevance of Lincoln’s profound words to us today, 155 years after they were delivered,” Riggs said, who will retire as president of Gettysburg College following the academic year.

Riggs was appointed the 14th president of Gettysburg College in 2009 after serving as interim president since 2008. She graduated from Gettysburg College with a BA in psychology and mathematics and received her MA and PhD in social psychology from Princeton University. Riggs returned to Gettysburg College in 1981 as a faculty member in the psychology department, where she served as department chairperson. She has worked in a variety of administrative roles, including executive assistant to the president, interim provost, and provost.

Riggs currently chairs the PA Consortium for the Liberal Arts and the Centennial Conference Presidents Council. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Annapolis Group and the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of PA, and is currently a member of the Gettysburg Foundation Board and the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize Board.

Under her leadership, Gettysburg College has enhanced its commitment to inclusion and internationalization; strengthened its academic reputation and recruitment efforts; and enhanced its campus grounds and facilities.

“Riggs personifies the ideals that make Gettysburg College great. Her openness, warmth, and generosity have left a lasting legacy on our campus community, and her vision and leadership have helped position Gettysburg among the top liberal arts colleges in the nation. We are forever grateful for her passion and devotion to her alma mater,” said James L. Chemel ’71, former chair of the Gettysburg College Board of Trustees.

Each year since 1938, the Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania has commemorated Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and rededicated Soldiers’ National Cemetery where Lincoln spoke. This annual event has grown and is now co-sponsored by Gettysburg National Military Park, the Gettysburg Foundation, and Gettysburg College.

“The Lincoln Fellowship of Pennsylvania believes it is altogether fitting and proper for President Riggs to share her thoughts on the themes Lincoln raised in his speech and how they intersect with our time,” said the Fellowship’s President Rev. Stephen Herr. “Dr. Riggs’ deep engagement with and involvement in the Gettysburg community has demonstrated her appreciation for the principles Lincoln spoke of and called all Americans to embrace.”

The story of the 1863 dedication of Soldiers’ National Cemetery is one that is closely woven into the College’s history, as it was an alum of the Class of 1851 who oversaw the construction of the cemetery and invited Lincoln to give “a few appropriate remarks.” David Wills even hosted the president in his home the night before the ceremony.

At 10:15 a.m., the day will begin with the wreath-laying ceremony at the Soldiers’ National Monument, followed by the Dedication& Day Program at 10:30 a.m. at the rostrum in the Soldiers' National Cemetery, Gettysburg National Military Park. Lincoln portrayer George Buss will recite the Gettysburg Address, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will hold a naturalization ceremony for citizen candidates.

Over the years, many influential and noteworthy national figures have spoken at the ceremony, including: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, Tom Ridge, John Hope Franklin, Shelby Foote, Carl Sandburg, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Stephen Lang, Sandra Day O’Connor, Ken Burns, Steven Spielberg, and others.

This event is free and open to the general public. A limited number of seats will be available to the general public. Parking for the event is provided at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center in Lot #3 with free shuttle service on the Gold Line Shuttle to the Cemetery. The Gold Line will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For more information visit, the Lincoln Fellowship website.

In the event of severe inclement weather, the program will relocate to the Gettysburg College's Majestic Theater, 25 Carlisle Street, Gettysburg, PA.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Contact: Tricia Breton, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6829.

Posted: Fri, 16 Nov 2018


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