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Our View: Build the Roosevelt Library on DSU’s campus

Every school kid in North Dakota is taught how important Theodore Roosevelt was to our state and nation.

Roosevelt was a hero of the Spanish-American War after leading his Rough Riders to victory in the Cuba. At just 42 years old, he became the youngest person to be inaugurated as U.S. president. He was a progressive who wanted a “Square Deal” for the average citizen by breaking up monopolistic corporations, holding down railroad rates and guaranteeing pure food and drugs. He was the first president to speak out on conservation and he greatly expanded the system of national parks and national forests. He negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won a Nobel Peace Prize. His likeness is literally etched in stone on one of the nation’s most famous national monuments.

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Roosevelt is universally recognized as a great president. The time has come for his presidential library to be built, and building it close to his beloved Badlands only makes sense. Roosevelt once said he never would have been president if not for his time in North Dakota and the education he received as a cowboy and rancher in the Badlands.

The only thing wrong with building a Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library so close to his beloved Badlands is that it has taken nearly 100 years to reach the point of actually making it a reality. Building the library in Dickinson is an obvious choice, and the perfect spot is on the campus of Dickinson State University.

DSU has done nearly all of the work to make sure the project becomes a reality. It has spent countless hours crafting online archives for the Theodore Roosevelt Center and is at the forefront of educating others about Old Four Eyes.

Roosevelt died in 1919, ironically during the first school year Dickinson State University held when it was known as the Dickinson Normal School. How great it would be to have the library completed in time for DSU’s centennial and the 100th anniversary of Roosevelt’s death?

The project is so important to all the citizens of our state and nation, but the potential educational benefits for DSU students are immeasurable.

This week, the City of Dickinson stepped up and pledged $8 million toward the construction of the library. Congratulations to the Dickinson City Commission for recognizing how important building a Roosevelt presidential library is to our city, state and nation.

We at The Press encourage everyone in our state, especially the Legislature, to do everything possible to make sure this project becomes a reality.

Publisher Harvey Brock, Managing Editor Dustin Monke and Assistant Editor April Baumgarten are members of The Dickinson Press Editorial Board.