Social Science Building anniversary week features Civil War historian

On Nov. 5 of 1973, Weber State University finished construction of the Social Science Building, designed to hold approximately 4,000 students and house 69 faculty and 14 staff. With this week’s 40th anniversary celebration, the Social Science Building is trying to raise money for an improvement to the Social Science Building.

The celebration began with keynote speaker Brooks D. Simpson’s lecture “The Civil War: Reflections at the Sesquicentennial” on Wednesday evening.

Simpson, who has previously lectured at universities across the country, is a leading expert on the events of the Civil War and has written or edited several books, including his best-known work, “Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph Over Adversity, 1822-1865.” Simpson is currently a professor at Arizona State University under the ASU Foundation.

The turnout for the lecture totaled more than 200 people, ranging from 18-year-olds to senior citizens.

Simpson emphasized the idea that the Civil War is still affecting the United States more than 150 years later. His speech covered many portions of American history, ranging from before the Civil War to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He explained that the speech was strategically staged at the Lincoln Memorial, with the statue of Abraham Lincoln looking over King’s shoulder.

“The Civil War has been said (to be) a rich man’s war, and a poor man’s fight,” Simpson said. He added that it was not only a war for slavery, but also a war that protected a way of life.

The presentation came to an end with a famous quote from Lincoln: “Much unfinished work still remains.” The audience’s response was immediate and enthusiastic. Simpson left time after the presentation to answer questions from the audience.

More events are scheduled for later this week to continue to honor the Social Science Building’s anniversary. The community open house at 5 p.m. tonight will feature tours of the building, games, presentations about specific programs, and the Utah Antique Roadshow, a virtual museum of objects pertaining to daily life in northern Utah.

“Over the last 40 years, tens of thousands of students have learned and hundreds of faculty members have taught in the Social Science Building,” said Frank Harrold, the dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “. . . As we mark this milestone, we celebrate the past and current achievements of our students and faculty, and begin to plan for the facility that will position the next generation at WSU to lead the way in the social and behavioral sciences.”