Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War Symposium
Kankakee Community College and the Kankakee Valley Civil War Roundtable
Our Presenters
As Lincoln said about himself, so too, George "is 6 foot 4 inches tall, nearly and
weighs between 160 and 180 pounds." George Buss is a 6th generation Illinoisan
who, for the past quarter century, has interpreted Abraham Lincoln for
thousands of audiences across the United States to critical acclaim. George has
had multiple appearances on C-Span and the Illinois Channel, was selected by
the Illinois Sesquicentennial Debate Celebration to appear at all seven original
debate locations and has been featured in numerous national publications including
Smithsonian. He regularly appears for the Lincoln Forum, Old State Capitol in Springfield,
Abraham Lincoln Association, U.S. Grant Association, Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area,
American Queen Steamship Company, Mariners' Museum and the Civil War Museum. In a
recent commencement address, longtime friend Harold Holzer succinctly captured George's
work when he said of Buss: "He is a national treasure."
Ron J. Keller is associate professor of history and political science at Lincoln
College, and director of the renowned Lincoln Heritage Museum. He has
previously taught at both the elementary and secondary levels, and as well as at
other colleges and universities. Keller has co-authored several books. He serves
on the board of the prestigious Abraham Lincoln Association, and is an advisor to
the Lincoln Forum. In 2005, Governor Blagojevich appointed him to the Illinois
Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Also in 2005, President George W.
Bush and First Lady Laura Bush invited Keller to join them at the White House for a special
Abraham Lincoln commemoration ceremony. In 2009 Governor Pat Quinn and the Lincoln
Academy bestowed Keller with the Order of Lincoln-the highest honor given to a citizen of the
state of Illinois.
Robert I. Girardi has a Master's Degree in Public History from Loyola University of
Chicago. He is a past president of the Chicago Civil War Round Table, a Fellow of
the Company of Military Historians and the author or editor often books,
numerous essays and book reviews pertaining to the Civil War. He is on the Board
of Directors of the Camp Douglas Restoration Foundatuion and the Illinois State
Historical Society. He was the guest editor for the 2011-2014 Civil War
Sesquicentennial issues of the Journal ofthe Illinois State Historical Society. He was awarded
the Chicago CWRT Nevins-Freeman Award in 2010 and the Milwaukee CWRT Iron Brigade
Association award in 2014.
A native of Minneapolis, James M. Cornelius received degrees from Lawrence
University in Appleton, Wisc., and the University of Illinois at Urbana­
Champaign. For ten years he worked as an editor in New York City, at
Doubleday, Random House, and Collier's Encyclopedia, then for eight years in
the University of Illinois Library's heralded collections of Lincoln and Illinois
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