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Date: Jun 30, 2008
Hofstra University's Center for Civic Engagement Receives a Grant to Create Living History
Motorola funds to be used for historic reenactments on Hofstra’s campus the day of the presidential debate
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY - The Motorola Foundation has awarded The Center for Civic Engagement at Hofstra University a $15,000 grant to expand the historical significance of the October 15, 2008 presidential debate taking place at Hofstra by running 15 dramatic vignettes throughout the day that highlight important moments in U.S. democracy. The program is being co-sponsored by Hofstra’s Center for Civic Engagement and the School of Communication.
The grant, part of Motorola’s Abraham Lincoln grant program, will fund historic reenactments on campus featuring a mix of professional and student actors portraying notable Americans such as President Lincoln, President Kennedy, Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, (Mother) Mary Harris Jones, Sojourner Truth and Will Rogers. The performances will be directed by Speech Communication, Rhetoric, and Performance Studies Professor Lisa Merrill, who regularly teaches a course in performing history in the School of Communication. Prof. Merrill will also be teaching a special Educate ’08 course, “Democracy in Performance”, to prepare student performers for their roles. Professor John Dennis Anderson of The Department of Communication Studies at Emerson College will act as a consultant for the performances as well as portraying Robert Frost.
The program is part of Hofstra’s Educate ’08 series, an unprecedented educational effort that engages not only students and faculty but also the public in a year-long series of conferences, events and lectures leading up to the final presidential debate.
“We're excited to have Motorola's assistance in bringing some first-rate performance artists to Hofstra, many of whom are also scholars and have conducted extensive research on their characters,” said Cynthia Bogard, Ph.D., director of the Center for Civic Engagement.
“The professional artists and our student performers will help us recreate some of the most important moments in American democracy. Among the vignettes presented will be U.S. presidents, advocates for abolition, civil and workers' rights and women's suffrage.”
“Hofstra University has developed an exemplary program that will engage the community in what we hope will be an enduring conversation about the lessons of Lincoln’s life,” said Eileen Sweeney, director of the Motorola Foundation. “All of our grantees have the opportunity to inspire the next generation of great leaders.”
Motorola Lincoln grants fund programs that use innovative curriculum to educate students in the areas of civics, history and social studies and develop programming for the public about Lincoln’s life. It will initiate engagement of young people and community members in public policy issues with forums and tools to foster debate.
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from about 145 undergraduate and 155 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communication, education and allied human services, and honors studies, as well as a School of Law. With a student-faculty ratio of 14-to-1, our professors teach small classes averaging 22 students that emphasize interaction, critical thinking and analysis. Hofstra offers a faculty whose highest priority is teaching excellence. The University also provides excellent facilities with state-of-the-art technology, extensive library resources and internship programs that match students’ interests and abilities with appropriate companies and organizations. The Hofstra community is driven, dynamic and energetic, helping students find and focus their strengths to prepare them for a successful future.