Roane State Community College and the Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning are jointly launching a free intergenerational lecture series open to the public.
James L. “Jamie” Cotton Jr., author of the book “The Greatest Speech, Ever: The Remarkable Story of Abraham Lincoln and His Gettysburg Address,” will give the first lecture in the inaugural series at 3:30 p.m. Thursday in the lecture room in the new Goff Health Sciences and Technology building on RSCC’s Oak Ridge campus.
The lecture, titled “Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: The Greatest Speech, Ever” will be preceded by refreshments at 3 p.m in the new building’s lobby. It will be followed at 4:30 p.m. by an optional tour of the Goff Health Sciences and Technology building.
The lecturers selected will appeal to multiple generations, including Roane State students and the more than 400 retirees who take ORICL classes in RSCC’s Coffey-McNally building on the Oak Ridge campus off Briarcliff Avenue.
ORICL will supplement RSCC’s budget for a lecture series with funds from the John Million Bequest made to ORICL two years ago.
The opening lecture will take the place of ORICL’s fall kick-off. Catalogs and forms will be available for those wishing to register for classes for ORICL’s fall semester, which begins Sept. 22.
Judge Cotton has served as judge for the General Sessions court in Scott County since 1990. He received the Tennessee Award of Merit for his work in the prevention of teenage substance abuse and the Tennessee Medical Association Community Service Award for his leadership in the prevention of domestic violence.
He is a member of the adjunct faculty of Roane State Community College, where he lectures on Lincoln and the law. Judge Cotton is donating profits from all direct sales of his book to two charities—Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for children and the Scott County Christian Care Center.
The late Howard H. Baker Jr.—U.S. senator from Tennessee, chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan and ambassador to Japan—wrote these words in a preface in the book: “Judge Cotton’s book is not only a fascinating and scholarly assessment of the Gettysburg Address and its impact on America but also an absorbing look into Abraham Lincoln’s life—this is a must read for anyone interested in America’s history.”
Thomas Mackie, director of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum at Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, wrote that the book “demonstrates that Lincoln’s mythic Gettysburg Address continues to be required reading for American citizenship. We are reminded that this very brief but well-crafted speech defines our ideals and national purpose.”