Events that have shaped our nation

February is a month that encourages us to reflect on historically significant events that have shaped our nation.

Indeed, the whole month of February celebrates Black History Month. During this month we honor the contributions that African Americans have made to United States history. 2020 is a special year, as it marks the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) which gave the right of black men to vote following the Civil War. It also marks the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. At MGA, we have events scheduled to honor Black History month – click here for a complete list.

President’s Day is also observed on February 17th. The day recognizes George Washington, the first president of the United States, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and one of the most influential and famous figures in American history. In September of 1796, Washington issued his “Farewell Address,” a letter to the American people, published first in Philadelphia’s American Daily Advertiser, and read in the US Senate each year since 1862 to honor Washington’s February birthday. His address remains as relevant today as it was when it was published during this nation’s infancy.

President’s day has evolved into a day for us to remember, recognize and celebrate the birthdays and lives of all U.S. presidents. The contentious histories, diverse backgrounds and mesmerizing personalities of the forty-five men to date who have ascended the presidency remind us of the belief and principle that the American Republic can be led by any citizen, and that leadership is a shared opportunity, not just the privilege of a class or family.

At MGA we have a very special event in February, welcoming on Wednesday, February 19, Ms. Joy Harjo to campus, the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States. The Oklahoma-born writer, member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, is the first Native American to be honored with this title. We are privileged to host her on February 19th at our Macon campus. Harjo is a strong supporter of women’s rights and equality and is a major figure of contemporary American poetry, fittingly highlighted in this centennial year of women’s suffrage. I hope you will join me in welcoming her to our campus. Click here for full information.

Reflecting on our history can improve our future. For Middle Georgia State University, in (about) 10 short years we have truly transformed ourselves, our institutions, and our united mission for the people of middle Georgia. We must keep exercising MGA’s strengths: efficiency, agility, and adaptability. The decisions we make today will shape our future and those of future generations.

Oh, and finally – February, of course, sees the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day, in honor of the third century Roman bishop who ministered to persecuted Christians with love and help. I hope you will get to share the day with your loved ones, and also to share some light with others at this time of continued winter’s cold.