Keynote speaker at DSU highlights Roosevelt’s sporting specialty

Dickinson State University, in partnership with its Theodore Roosevelt Center, will host its annual symposium this September — featuring exciting special guests, creative new buildings, and plenty of Rough Ridin’ lessons and activities.

As part of the annual event, the center hosts a three-day event packed with history and heritage. The theme of this year’s symposium is titled “The Athlete in the Arena: Theodore Roosevelt and the Development of Modern Sport” and focuses primarily on the President’s athletic endeavors.

Topics at this symposium include the beginnings and taming of some of the most famous collegiate sports, historical debates about women in sports, and Teddy Roosevelt’s own days as an athlete. The main part of the event begins with a big discussion on how Roosevelt’s sporting and political sides came together. This keynote address will be delivered by Michael Patrick Cullinane, widely regarded as one of the world’s best-known scholars on Roosevelt and his time.

Cullinane is the author of several books, including Theodore Roosevelt’s Ghost: The History and Memory of an American Icon, which received the Theodore Roosevelt Association award for “Most Outstanding Published Book on Theodore Rosevelt.” His latest 2021 work, Remembering Theodore Roosevelt: Reminiscences of His Contemporaries, contains long-lost interviews with Roosevelt’s circle of friends, family, and colleagues.

As it turned out, many of the same men who played tennis with Roosevelt often ended up alongside him in a different kind of competition — the political battlefield. According to Cullinane, Roosevelt saw sport as a metaphor for life’s hard work, and over the course of the talk he wants to introduce members of Roosevelt’s “tennis cabinet” — a mix of athletes and statesmen — who together make an interesting picture of the former president’s philosophy.

The Theodore Roosevelt Symposium includes many other activities and guest speakers outside of the keynote address, offering meals, book signings, sports exhibits and a Badlands walking tour. The entire event begins at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 15, and the closing ceremonies conclude on Saturday at the Cowboy Hall of Fame.

This year’s event also happens to be taking place near the grand opening of a new Teddy Roosevelt Center on the DSU campus, which will house student staff and staff, content creation studios, storage space, event spaces, and additional exhibition galleries. The key features of this new center are a gigantic research library and a replica of Roosevelt’s reading room from his New York home, complete with copies of the many books originally owned by Roosevelt himself.

Registration for the symposium is $175 for all three days or $50 for virtual attendance. The event is also free for all DSU faculty, staff and students. Students and teachers from other schools also get free entry, but meals are not included.

Visit the Theodore Roosevelt Center website for more information about the Keystone speech and how to register. Guests should email [email protected] or call 701-483-2814 for specific requests.

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