CU Students to Attend President Obama’s Inauguration

By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator


CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Forty-two students and faculty members from Campbellsville University are attending the inauguration of President- Elect Barack Obama.

Brandon F. Hatmaker, a junior from Jacksboro, Tenn., vice president of the CU Collegiate Historians, called the visit a “once in a lifetime experience.”

“It’s related to history because of the first-ever African-American president being inaugurated, and just to be able to witness it, is a once in a lifetime experience,”

“We are going to see some sights, visit some of the monuments, and we will also be visiting the Capitol Building and seeing the museums.”

“I have been to Washington D.C. once before, and that was while I was in eighth grade. It was a great experience, and I will be willing to go back more and more.

I will be going to visit the museum of American history and natural history.

“I will be visiting all of the memorials and monuments, and hopefully will be able to visit Arlington Cemetery.”

Christina Miller, a junior from Danville with a double major in journalism and psychology, is blogging her experiences for The Advocate-Messenger in Danville, Ky.

Miller, who is going to Washington for the first time, said, “It’s an honor to be present at such an historical moment in our nation’s history. I am excited about blogging and using Twitter for the newspapers, and I’m excited about seeing the sites in Washington.”

Emily Buckman, a senior from Lebanon, Ky., said, “When the opportunity to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama was made available I was extremely excited, and a bit surprised.

“I had just spent the summer of 2008 in Washington, D.C. interning for Congressman Ron Lewis and fell in love with city itself, and I was assured that the political field was the path in which I wanted to follow upon graduation.

“I just didn’t realize I would be able to return to D.C. so soon and for something so special. I feel so honored to be a part of such a remarkable part of history amongst millions who feel the same way I do.”

Buckman, a political science major with a mass communication minor, said, she might not be right next to President Obama, “but I will be able to brag that I was there the day the first African American became president.”

She said the only thing she is worried about is the cold weather.

“Needless to say I have packed for the occasion quite well. I don’t even mind that I’m going to have to wake up at 3 a.m. and wait in line for eight hours.”

“While in D.C. our group will explore all the history the city has to offer including the various monuments/memorials (Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Vietnam, etc), a tour of the Capitol Building and various museums. We will also be visiting Mt. Vernon and Monticello. We have been so blessed to have a supportive faculty/staff and administration at Campbellsville University, as well as, a wonderful community to make this trip possible.

“I know this experience will become one of the best memories of my college career.”

Robin Hopkins of Glasgow, said, “For me this trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity. How man people can say I went to the Presidential Inauguration, let alone the inauguration of the first African American president.”

Hopkins, a sophomore political science major, said, “I am so excited to visit all the war memorials to pay my respects for all those who have fought in wars.

“This may be my only trip to Washington D.C., but I am glad that I can say I went to D.C and the inauguration while I was at CU! I also want to thank the University for all their donations that made this trip possible for me and many others!”

Dr. Wendy Benningfield, associate professor of history, and Max Wise, assistant professor of political science, had been discussing the upcoming election when the subject of the inauguration came into the conversation.

Benningfield, who is also the faculty advisor for the university’s history club, the Collegiate Historians, mentioned that the club was thinking about visiting Washington, D.C. The idea suddenly occurred to them that if a trip was going to be taken to Washington, it should be during the inauguration. Benningfield passed the suggestion on to the club’s officers, and the idea quickly became reality.

“This is a time they can look back on and say I was there for a major political event,” said Wise. “While in Washington, the students will also get to experience first-hand the things we discuss in the classroom.”

Benningfield believes that this trip will help raise awareness in young people about the importance of politics and why they should become involved in the voting process. “It will embed in them a sense of patriotism and citizenship,” she said.

Stan McKinney, assistant professor of journalism, said he is excited about the experience many of his students will have at the inauguration.

“They are watching history and reporting it,” McKinney said. “What better on-the-job experience could they have as students?”

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.

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