Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough speaks on the importance of history and education

McCullough has also won two Francis Parkman Prizes, two National Book Awards, the Colonial Dames of America Annual Book Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Cornelius Ryan Award.

People wrapped around the block and filled the Missouri Theatre to hear the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough give a lecture entitled, "The History You Don't Know: Lessons from the American Founders" from 7 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 7.

The event was hosted by The Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy along with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Visitors Program.

McCullough is an acclaimed American historian, non-fiction author, lecturer and narrator.

His first book, “The Johnstown Flood,” was published in 1987. He has since proceeded to write several books including “Truman,” “The Great Bridge,” “The Greater Journey” and his most recent book, “The Wright Brothers,” published this past May.

He is also noted for the books “John Adams” and “1776,” which he primarily drew upon for his lecture.

“It was shocking how many people came out,” freshman Nicole Tacha said. “I think a lot of the outside community came.”

One of the community members who attended the event was Nina Sappington.

“All of McCullough’s books are really good,” Sappington said. “I just finished ‘The Wright Brothers’ a couple months ago. It was very wonderful. You don’t get the chance to hear someone like this often, so it’s a great opportunity.”

McCullough spoke of the Founding Fathers as determined men with a love of learning and a desire to make this country a better place.

He explained how the Founding Fathers grew up in households where the history of the nation was honored and talked about around the dinner table. McCullough explained that these men read in their free time, carried around poetry and studied languages such as Latin for enjoyment.

McCullough expressed his concerns that the current generation of college students and younger children are being taught less and less history. Times have changed, but students can learn valuable lessons such as that of perseverance from their experiences, actions and decisions.

McCullough has earned several awards for his works including two Francis Parkman Prizes, two National Book Awards, the Colonial Dames of America Annual Book Award and the Cornelius Ryan Award.

McCullough was also awarded Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies, “Truman” in 1993 and “John Adams” in 2002, and he has earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the U.S.

Not only is McCullough’s writing known, but his voice is notable as well. He has narrated several documentaries including “The Civil War” by Ken Burns and the film “Seabiscuit.”

“I love his voice in the Kim Burns civil war documentary,” Jefferson City resident Laura Wilson said. “David McCullough is a very well-respected historian. I previously worked in the State Historical Society of Missouri here in Columbia, so it’s a treat that he came to Columbia, and it’s a privilege to hear him speak.”

McCullough spoke not only of the Founding Fathers, but of history as it is essential to leadership and the development of American citizens.

McCullough said his favorite part about studying history is learning about the people who have made America what it is today. He explained that there is so much to learn, and sometimes he feels he can learn more about people of the past than people he currently knows because of all the resources and information that are available.

He said people such as the Founding Fathers deserve great appreciation for their courage, determination, and the struggles they’ve endured in order to make changes in society.

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