A Pulitzer Prize-winning author will join in the unveiling of the painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” in its magnificent new location — the Wilmeth Active Learning Center — as the Presidential Lecture Series kicks off on Sept. 7.
Joseph Ellis, one of the nation’s leading scholars of American history, will speak with Purdue President Mitch Daniels at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 7, in the Reading Room of the Wilmeth Active Learning Center. A 6 p.m. reception will precede the event, which is free and open to the public.
Ellis is the author of nine books, including “Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation,” for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, and “American Sphinx,” a biography of Thomas Jefferson, for which he won the National Book Award.
In conjunction with the talk, “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” a significant and valuable painting depicting an important moment in America’s fight for independence, will be unveiled in the WALC Reading Room. The painting, by the late, nationally acclaimed portrait artist Robert Bruce Williams, is an authorized copy of the 1851 painting by Emanuel Leutze, and had been hanging since February 2014 in Purdue’s Class of 1950 Lecture Hall. The painting, on loan from the Washington Crossing Foundation, was commissioned in 1969 by Ann Hawkes Hutton in memory of her late husband, Leon John Hutton, who was a 1929 graduate of the Purdue College of Science, a Purdue football and track athlete, and a World War II veteran who served as a Navy officer.
“We continue to be grateful and honored that the family of Ann Hawkes Hutton chose Purdue to host this marvelous painting,” Daniels said. “That we are joined by professor Ellis, the foremost expert on that pivotal time in U.S. history, to celebrate the unveiling seems extremely fitting.”
The Presidential Lecture Series is an ongoing series of conversations on policy, leadership, culture, society and other fields of interest for both academics and the community at large. Speakers over the past three years have included author J.D. Vance, columnist George Will, former U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, author Harlan Coben, and former U.S. Secretary of State, Labor and Treasury George Shultz.
State Street Redevelopment Project construction is in progress on the Purdue University West Lafayette campus. A portion of State Street remains closed and the work has significantly affected surrounding thoroughfares in West Lafayette. For project and travel information, visit statestreetwl.com. \