McConnell Speaks about Life of Crittenden, Honors President Whitlock

Photo of McConnell presentation to Whitlock

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell spoke at Eastern Kentucky University on Tuesday, March 26 about famous 19th century Kentuckian John J. Crittenden.

The afternoon program was part of the University’s year-long series in observance of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War and part of a series of similar lectures McConnell is bringing at college and university campuses across the Commonwealth.

The senator also paid tribute to retiring EKU President Doug Whitlock. Recently, unbeknownst to Whitlock, McConnell delivered remarks on the Senate floor praising Whitlock’s years of service to the University. Afterward, McConnell had the page from the official Congressional Record placed in a gold frame, which he presented to Whitlock prior to the lecture.

Crittenden, born near Versailles, served in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate and twice served as U.S. Attorney General. He was also the 17th governor of Kentucky and served in the General Assembly.

In his remarks, McConnell praised Crittenden for his tireless efforts to keep the Union together in the secession winter of 1860-61. The Crittenden family, as was the case with many families of the time, splintered when war tore the nation apart. One of his sons joined the Union army, while another joined the Confederate cause, each reaching the rank of major general.

A lifelong student of history who especially enjoys reading biographies, McConnell plans eventually to release a compilation of the lectures in book form. Last April, he delivered the first lecture of the series at Centre College; in September, he spoke at the Patterson School of Diplomacy at the University of Kentucky.

Published on March 27, 2013