Speakers and Performers
Gordon R. Bury has been working in the banking industry for over 35 years and has served in leadership positions for many organizations and hereditary societies. He is president of the OH-PA Landowners Association, and was the 54th Commander-in-Chief of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States and the 100th Commander-in-Chief of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. His wife, Lynne, was the National President of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic and is President of the Ohio Dames of the Loyal Legion. The Burys live in Marshallville, Ohio.
William Farley is a graduate of Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Virginia. In April, he received the title of National Champion at the 2009 Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, an arts education program and poetry competition sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. He advanced from a competitive field of nearly 300,000 students who participated across the country. In the fall he will attend Bucknell University.
Reverend Dr. Roger J. Gench is the senior pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. He has served Presbyterian parishes in Baltimore, MD, and Camp Hill, PA. He is also an elected member of the national General Assembly Council of the Presbyterian Church.
Harold Holzer is one of the country’s leading authorities on Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. Among his thirty-four books, Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech that Made Abraham Lincoln President remains his best known work, which won a 2005 Lincoln Prize. His recent works are Lincoln President-Elect, The Lincoln Anthology, and In Lincoln’s Hand. He is the senior vice president for external affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Co-Chairman of the U. S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
Peggy O’Dell was selected on October 22, 2008 as the Regional Director for the National Capital Region, to manage over 87,000 acres of federal parkland in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Prior to serving as Regional Director, O’Dell served as the Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C. where she led a large park staff that works with partner organizations to serve more than twenty-five million visitors a year. Areas within this park provide visitors with ample opportunities to commemorate presidential legacies, honor the courage and sacrifice of war veterans, and celebrate the United States commitment to freedom and equality.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin Payton has served as the fifth president of Tuskegee University since 1981. Payton is a nationally recognized higher education leader/speaker, scholar/ethicist, and public intellectual. He received the B.A. from South Carolina State University; the B.D. from Harvard University; the M.A. from Columbia University; and the Ph.D. from Yale University. During his tenure he expanded and transformed Tuskegee from Institute to University status, and launched Tuskegee University’s first Ph.D. programs. He also established the University National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, initiated the C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson Department of Aviation Science in cooperation with the U.S. Air Force, gave strong support to aerospace science in cooperation with NASA, and was the principal catalyst in sponsoring the development of the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Tuskegee.
Ernest “Ernie” Quintana, the Acting Deputy Director of the National Park Service, was born in Arizona and raised in California. He served in the U.S. Army from 1969-71 and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star with a “V” device for valor for his service in the Vietnam conflict. He graduated from Northern Arizona University with a B.S. degree. He is the recipient of the 1997 Stephen Tyng Mather Award for Conservation; the 1999 Director’s Wilderness Management and Stewardship Award; and the 2005 Office of Civil Rights Manuel Lujan, Jr., Champion’s Award.
The Honorable Ken Salazar, a fifth-generation Coloradan, was confirmed as the 50th Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior on January 20, 2009, in a unanimous vote by the U.S. Senate. Prior to his confirmation, Salazar served as Colorado’s 35th United States senator, winning election in November, 2004. In that position, he served on the Finance Committee, which oversees the nation’s tax, trade, social security, and health care systems. He also served on the Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resources, Ethics, Veterans Affairs, and Aging Committees.
United States Marine Band, also known as “The President’s Own,” was established by an Act of Congress in 1798, making it America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization. Its primary mission is unique—to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. In its third century, the Marine Band continues a tradition of excellence. Whether in White House performances, public concerts, or national tours, the music of the Marine Band is the music of America.