Mason student among select few invited to prestigious White House Historical Association Summit

Mason student Emma Lyons was one of 15 college students nationwide to receive a scholarship to attend the Presidential Sites Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by the White House Historical Association. 

The four-day summit included talks given by presidential descendants, historians, world-renowned speakers and leaders from presidential sites and libraries. 

Lyons’s interest in American government and history has led her to pursue a double major in both government and international politics and history. Lyons, a sophomore and an Honors College member, said the summit was an excellent opportunity to hear from people dedicated to preserving the history of the presidency. 

Lyons said after the event she wants to become more involved with historical research. The opening ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial discussed Lincoln’s legacy, and the second inaugural address was read. Lyons said she will keep this in mind for her HIST 373 The Civil War and Reconstruction class this semester. 

“It is a speech of perseverance and hope for the country,” said Lyons. “The ideas I will keep in mind is how much Lincoln fought to preserve the Union and end slavery, despite the many hardships he endured.”

Some of her other highlights from the event included presidential historian Jon Meacham, children and grandchildren of former presidents, and the lunchtime speaker, Roland Mesnier, a former White House pastry chef. 

Every two years, the Presidential Summit invites students to share innovative ideas and discuss insights into the management and outreach of presidential libraries, historic homes and museums with leaders of presidential history. Students and members of the community are invited to attend the event. This year’s theme, “Back to the White House,” focused on the Executive Mansion.