MSU to host ‘An Evening with the Presidents’ at Mitchell Memorial Library

Contact: James Carskadon

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University will host ‘An Evening with the Presidents’ this Friday [Aug. 23] at Mitchell Memorial Library.

The  6 p.m. program will include a discussion between Abraham Lincoln impersonator George Buss, Ulysses S. Grant impersonator Curt Fields and MSU President Mark E. Keenum. A book signing follows for “Hold On with a Bulldog Grip: A Short Study of Ulysses S. Grant,” a new book written by MSU and Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library historians John Marszalek, David Nolen and Louie Gallo, along with former Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Frank Williams.

The free presidential program will take place in the library’s John Grisham Room. Attendees are invited to tour the Grant Presidential Library and Frank and Virginia Williams Collection of Lincolniana galleries. Free parking will be available in the Hand Lab parking lot, at the intersection of Hardy Road and Morrill Road, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

With decades of experience as a Lincoln actor, Buss has turned his historical knowledge, educational background, theatrical experience, and love of all things for the 16th president into a full-time passion. He made his first appearance as Lincoln in 1986 and at every venue he visits, he brings “Honest Abe” to life with authenticity, reverence and humor.

Fields is an educational consultant and living historian. He researches and reads extensively about General Grant to deliver an accurate persona of the nation’s 18th president. Fields has the same height and body style as Grant, which allows him to present a convincing, true-to-life image of the man as he really looked. In 2018, Fields was the guest speaker for MSU Libraries’ inaugural Michael B. Ballard Lecture.

Keenum has served as MSU’s president since January 2009. Among many accomplishments during his tenure, the university has become home of the Grant Library and the Williams Collection, one of the world’s largest privately-held Lincoln compilations. In 2017, MSU unveiled a new 21,000-square-foot addition to Mitchell Memorial Library containing visitor galleries and storage for the collections. With hundreds of thousands of historical documents and items housed on-site, the facility makes Mississippi State a leading destination for research on the Civil War and two presidents who shaped the course of American history. Keenum also serves on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History Board of Trustees.

Friday’s panel will be moderated by Marszalek, MSU Giles distinguished professor of history emeritus and executive director of the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

For more on “Hold On with a Bulldog Grip,” MSU’s 2019 Maroon Edition book, visit Copies will be available for purchase at Friday’s program.

MSU is one of six universities in the U.S. to house a presidential library. For more, visit

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 2:28 pm