PrintShareE-Mail This Page

Politicians to Poets

Meet a Few of Old Main's Notable Visitors

One year after its opening, Old Main hosted Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas at their fifth debate for a United States Senate seat. Since that time, numerous politicians, academics, artists, and dignitaries have graced the halls, classrooms, and lawns of Old Main since it opened its doors in 1857. Some have celebrated anniversaries; some have lectured students on contemporary issues; others have given Commencement addresses. All have left their mark on the Knox community.

Here are just a few of Old Main's notable visitors:

  • 1858, Abraham Lincoln & Stephen Douglas, United States Senate Candidates
  • 1894, Jane Addams, Social Worker & Founder of Hull House
  • 1900, Theodore Roosevelt, Vice-President Elect
  • 1929, Ida Tarbell, Social Worker & Journalist
  • 1938, Carl Sandburg, Poet & Pulitzer-Prize Winning Lincoln Biographer
  • 1964, Betty Friedan, Co-Founder of the National Organization of Women
  • 1976, Studs Terkel, Pulitzer-Prize Winning Author
  • 1988, Robert Dole, United States Senator (R-KS) and Presidential Candidate
  • 1992, Kathryn Fuller, President of the World Wildlife Fund
  • 2000, Brian Lamb, Founder of C-SPAN
  • 2005, Barack Obama, United States Senator (D-IL)