By GRAY WHITSETT – OPINIONS SECTION EDITOR
In a stunning new historical development, Centre College administrative experts have determined, independent of the modern academic community, that the sixteenth president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, was conceived on what are now the footsteps of Old Centre.
President Lincoln, known for his leadership during the American Civil War and delivering the Gettysburg Address, now has an even deeper tie to the liberal arts institution.
“We always knew President Lincoln had historic roots here,” Professor emeritus of History Dr. Michael “Country” Hamm said. “But until now we always thought it stopped with John Todd Stuart.”
John Todd Stuart was an 1826 Centre graduate, responsible for encouraging a young Abraham Lincoln to enter into the legal profession and lending to him his law books for study.
A testament to the power of lifelong friendship and unconditional support, Stuart is appropriately commemorated by Stuart Hall, formerly a funeral home. But Stuart’s legacy does not stop there.
In 2012 Centre’s tenuous-at-best connection was solidified with the addition of a large sculpture depicting a sprightly Lincoln pouring over one of his books in front of the College Library.
In 2014, an explanatory podium was added with historical information desperately justifying the statue, which looks similar to Mad Magazine’s boy mascot.
Aesthetically pleasing and unobtrusive, the podium was relocated shortly after Homecoming.
But now with new evidence to suggest that Thomas and Nancy Hanks Lincoln actually conceived their second child in the space that would ten years later become the site of Old Centre, Stuart has lost some of his importance to the college.
“John Todd was always our boy,” Dr. Hamm said, “but now we don’t have to rely on him anymore. We’ve transcended Stuart. And that’s big for development.”
Indeed, for the College the discovery couldn’t have come at a better time, as just last month the administration announced their latest addition to the myriad of academic programs offered by Centre – the Lincoln Scholars Program.
Lincoln Scholars will receive full tuition, room and board, books and fees, and $10,000 their sophomore year to “support educational enrichment opportunities.”
The fall of 2016 will see the ten inaugural scholars on campus, determined by the highly specific and incredibly out of touch criteria of being “created for students who have the capacity and deep desire to change the world.” We aren’t making this up.
It only seems reasonable then that Lincoln’s monumental life all began in an unplowed field on the outskirts of Danville, KY, between two poor frontier settlers.
In fact, as experts pointed out, it is believed that the exact moment of conception occurred in the spot of the Centre seal.
“I walk out of those doors every day,” Centre College President Dr. John Roush said, “and nothing makes Susie and me happier than knowing that we walk by the space Thomas and Nancy Lincoln ‘elected’ our future president. Put’s a whole new spin on Railsplitter for us.”
But the positive effects of the ‘Lincoln discovery’ aren’t limited to just good sentiment. The president’s newfound history has allowed the wealthy anonymous donor responsible for the 16-foot statue and alienating scholars program to make his or her strange obsession into abrasive reality.
With plans to erect three more Lincoln sculptures around campus, including one with Apple headphones and gym shorts heading into Sutcliffe, and to issue stovepipe hats to all incoming students, the Board of Trustees doesn’t anticipate “Lincomania” ending any time soon.
“It certainly is interesting that we have this history,” Dr. Hamm continued, “but it does beg the question why we don’t emphasize other prominent Americans affiliated with Centre. For instance, we could start with those who actually attended the College.”
True, such names as Supreme Court Justices John Marshall Harlan and Fred Vison, Kentucky Senator and Ambassador to East Germany and India John Sherman Cooper, and Vice President Adlai Stevenson do call Centre home, and one could reasonably expect their loyalty and connection to the College to be acknowledged, but in true Lincoln habeas corpus denying fashion, we just don’t get to know why these honorable individuals are overlooked time and time again.
Tellingly, other institutions have taken to similar tactics, citing any number of loose connections to famous individuals.
It’s reported that Ronald Reagan got food poisoning at Campbellsville University, that Woodrow Wilson was first exposed to biblical literalism at Asbury University, and that Franklin Delano Roosevelt helped teepee the president’s cottage at Bellarmine University.
And of course, a new study has found that Jefferson Daviess, the President of the Confederate States of America and Abraham Lincoln’s political foil, was conceived at Transylvania University.
“It’s caused many of us to begin looking at our own history,” President Roush said. “I myself am pleased to announce that I can actually trace my heritage back to Mr. Lincoln himself.”
Admittedly, it is rather incredible that President Lincoln’s legacy is still doing so much good for so many people. Centre College has long been known as an institution that hits above its weight, capable of doing far more with far less.
But now with the long-awaited addition of students who finally have “the capacity and deep desire to change the world,” the small liberal arts college has the chance to truly impact the globe.
“For at least one donor, this is the realization of a dream, a dream in keeping with the nearly two hundred old mission of Centre College,” President Roush said.
“It’s like I’ve said: Emancipate. Proclamate. No Regrets.”
Editor’s Note: The previous article is from the CentOnion series, a satirical publication focused on parodying various subjects unique to Centre College’s campus.
As such, all content within this article is purely fictional and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Cento or Centre College.
In addition all quotations used in this article are purely fictional and do not necessarily reflect the views of the individuals quoted.