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Out With the Old, In With the New

By David J. Kent

Washington, DC

Wednesday, Mary 22, 2024

On Tuesday evening, May 21, 2024, I officially became “the old.” At that time, I relinquished the role of Lincoln Group of DC president, handing the gavel (figuratively, since we do not have an actual gavel) to “the new,” President Ed Epstein. In keeping with LGDC's long history, we had a peaceful transition.

I get to stay around as the Immediate Past President of LGDC. Lincoln, as you may recall, had the misfortune of being unceremoniously assassinated less than six weeks into his second term. He never got to see the organization carry on after his tenure was completed. Luckily, I will.

I walk away from the presidency after serving three years in that role. Previously, I had served two non-consecutive terms as VP of Education and Outreach sandwiched around one term as VP of Programs. I was fortunate to have the Lincoln Forum during my tenure recognize the Lincoln Group of DC’s more than eight decades of contributions with their Wendy Allen Award. LGDC also organized, and I had the privilege to emcee, the 2022 Lincoln Memorial Centennial celebration on the National Mall. There have been tours, picnics, special programs, and many dozens of superb presentations – both at dinners and via Zoom. I have also had the opportunity to contribute articles to the Lincolnian newsletter in addition to my regular book review column for the last ten years. I have written many posts for the current website news blog and moderated or presented dozens of LGDC programs. And then there was the privilege of sharing one Saturday morning a month for the last ten years with the members of LGDC’s Study Forum as we dug deep into twenty different Lincoln books (and counting).

In short, it has been a wonderful experience.

Of course, the best part of stepping down as president is leaving the group in the capable hands of my successor. Ed Epstein has been an active member in all facets of the Lincoln Group of DC for many years. He is the perfect person to carry on the LGDC legacy, both by continuing popular programs and by bringing new ideas to the group. He has already hit the ground running, and I ask that all LGDC members give Ed the same support as I received over the last three years.

Joining Ed in LGDC leadership going forward is a fantastic board of directors. Most of the previous board members have agreed to continue in their old roles, and we should all be applauding their continuing commitment to LGDC. Some of them have been contributing since long before I even knew LGDC existed and are the mainstay of the organization. We also have three new members coming on board: Kelsey Johnston as VP of Education and Outreach, Rachel Riley as Recording Secretary, and Tom Horrocks as At Large member. Under Ed’s helm, expect to see opportunities for additional At-Large board members once the process of revising the By Laws has been completed.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank our one retiring board member, the inimitable Rod Ross. As all members should have read in the last issue of the Lincolnian, Rod has lived an accomplished and storied life to this point. Along the way, he has been an incomparable supporter of the Lincoln Group. Not only has he contributed ideas and expertise to our group, but he has also routinely given many of our members the opportunity to speak at other groups he is associated with, including the Illinois State Society, the Cosmos Club Civil War Round Table, and the Abraham Lincoln Institute. I personally owe a great deal of my success to Rod’s mentorship and support. As outgoing president, I offer my personal and professional thanks to Rod for all he has done for us. Even though he is leaving the board, Rod will no doubt continue to join us at LGDC events, both online and in person.

Which gets me to what I will be doing going forward. For better or worse, I will still be around LGDC. My term as immediate past president runs throughout Ed Epstein’s term as president. I also plan to take on the unofficial role of LGDC historian as I dig into the archive files and create a full history of the Lincoln Group of DC. I will continue writing for the Lincolnian newsletter and and serve on the website editorial committee. And there will be more, I am sure.

The Lincoln Group of DC has been an amazing and fulfilling experience for me these last dozen years. I look forward to the next dozen! Thank you for allowing me to be part of this historic group. Long live the LGDC!

Photo credit: Bruce Guthrie, taken at Lincoln Memorial Centennial, May 22, 2022


As a new member of LGDC I also look forward to the next dozen years and beyond. So far my short tenure as a member as been informative and enjoyable. I wish I could participate more, but being nearly a thousand miles away limits my involvement but not my support. Congratulations to David J. Kent for all his contributions. Richard Stickann, writer of Young Abe Lincoln on FB

Replying to

Thanks! Welcome to the group. We have members all over the country, so be sure to check out the new program just added on June 19th (see the Events page)!

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