Dickinson State University, in partnership with their Theodore Roosevelt Center, will be hosting its annual symposium in September this year — bringing with it exciting special guests, creative new construction, and plenty of Rough Ridin’ lessons and activities.

As part of the yearly event, the center is hosting a three-day event full of history and heritage. The theme of this year’s symposium is titled “The Athlete in the Arena: Theodore Roosevelt and the Development of Modern Sports”, and will be focusing mainly on the president’s athletic endeavors.

Topics in this symposium include the beginnings and taming of some of the most famous college sports, historical debates over women in sports, and Teddy Roosevelt’s own time as a sportsman. The main portion of the event will kick off with a major discussion about how Roosevelt’s sporting and political sides came together. This keynote speech will be delivered by Michael Patrick Cullinane, widely regarded as one of the world’s most prominent scholars relating to Roosevelt and his time period.

Cullinane has authored several books, including “Theodore Roosevelt’s Ghost: The History and Memory of an American Icon,” which received the Theodore Roosevelt Association prize presented for “the most distinguished published book on Theodore Rosevelt”. His most recent work in 2021, “Remembering Theodore Roosevelt: Reminiscences of His Contemporaries”, features previously long-lost interviews with Roosevelt’s circle of friends, family, and colleagues.

As it turns out, many of the same men who were involved in playing on the tennis field with Roosevelt often ended up by his side in another type of competition — the political battlefield. According to Cullinane, Roosevelt saw sport as a metaphor for working hard in life, and over the course of the lecture, he aims to introduce members of Roosevelt’s ‘tennis cabinet’ — a mixture of sportsmen and statesmen — who when put together paint an interesting picture of the former president’s philosophy.

The Theodore Roosevelt Symposium contains many more activities and guest speakers outside of the keynote address and features meals, book signings, sporting exhibitions, and a badlands hike. The full event begins at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 15, and the final ceremonies conclude at the Cowboy Hall of Fame on Saturday.

This year’s event also happens to be near the grand opening of a new Teddy Roosevelt Center on the DSU campus, which will host student workers and staff, content creation studios, storage, event space, and more exhibition galleries. The primary features of this new center are a gigantic research library and a replica of Roosevelt’s reading room from his New York estate, complete with copies of the many books originally owned by Roosevelt himself.

Registration for the Symposium is $175 for all three days or $50 for virtual attendance. The event is also free to all DSU faculty, staff, and students. Students and faculty from other schools will also be granted free admission, but meals will not be included.

For more information on the keystone speech and how to register to attend, visit the website of the Theodore Roosevelt Center. Guests should email william.hansard@dickinsonstate.edu or call 701-483-2814 for specific inquiries.