September 27, 2018

State historian lecture will focus on inspiring leaders in Illinois’ history

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — As Illinois celebrates its bicentennial year, Southern Illinois University Carbondale alumnus and state historian Samuel Wheeler will return to campus to discuss inspiring leaders in state history.

Wheeler, an expert on the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln, will present “Statesmanship in Illinois History” at 7 p.m., Oct. 3 in Student Center Ballroom B. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is presenting the lecture.

The event is free and the public is invited.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the lecture. To arrange for interviews or for more information on the event, contact Cary Day, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, at 618/453-4009.

‘Statesmanship is a universal concept’

Wheeler is one of the state’s most interesting and important historians and plays a “critical role during this bicentennial year in reminding us about Illinois’ many triumphs and continuing challenges,” Shaw said.

“His speech should remind us that statesmanship is a universal concept that is also relevant to our state’s evolution,” he said.

Became state historian in 2016

A native of Springfield, Wheeler earned a doctorate in history from SIU Carbondale. His dissertation was on Lincoln’s poetry. While at SIU, Wheeler worked as both a teaching assistant and lecturer focusing on Illinois history, the Civil War era and Lincoln, John T. Shaw, Institute director, said.

Wheeler is the 10th state historian. In that role, Wheeler directs research and collections at the state historical library, a part of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield. He is also historian of record for the state’s 56 historic sites.

Wheeler also leads efforts to use the state’s historical resources, including museums, library collections and historic sites, in educating the public about the state’s rich heritage, according to the Illinois Division of Historic Preservation within the state’s Department of Natural Resources.

Prior to Wheeler’s appointment, he was research historian at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and spent time as an interpreter at the Old State Capitol and Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices historic sites, both in Springfield.

A member of the Illinois Bicentennial Commission, Wheeler earned a master’s degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield and a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University.