Dressed in 17th century attire, Carl Closs came to SUU for Tuesday's Convocation, speaking about the life and experiences of U.S. President George Washington.
An educator and business executive, Closs tours the country teaching students about Washington by portraying him. Students witnessed Closs speak and look as if he were Washington.
Hyrum Jensen, a freshman integrated engineering major from West Valley, said he enjoyed Closs' Convocation.
"It was different than most Convocations," he said.
Jensen said he liked the fact that Closs acted as Washington.
"It gave me a more personal sense of who he was," he said.
All of the Convocations have been good, Jensen said.
"I've enjoyed other ones better, though," Jensen said.
Timian Yoshimoto, who helps out at Convocations as an usher, said SUU is lucky to have such great speakers.
"I thought this Convocation was fascinating," she said. "It's great that this was reenacted for us to see today."
Yoshimoto said students may have enjoyed this Convocation more because it was different.
"This was a little more fun than other ones because it was an actual performance," she said. "It was one of the better ones."
Closs said believing in yourself is key to being a great leader.
"The necessaries of life are mostly to be had within us," he said.
Closs spoke about the important influences in Washington's life, which included his mother, the Age of Reason, Deism, the Great Awakening, other great leaders and military experiences.
Washington was greatly influenced by his mother, Closs said.
"It was my mother who made me who I am," he said. "Mothers are the ones who create the children in more ways than one."
Washington's military experience shaped his life, Closs said.
"As a result of my experiences during the war ? I believed we needed a strong central government," he said.
The word dictator has a negative connotation, but during Washington's time it had a different meaning, Closs said.
"A dictator was appointed when the country was under extreme peril, and I was given complete military control," he said. "It was a positive position at the time."
Closs spoke about the Enlightenment being an influence in Washington's life.
"I was very much a part, or it was very much a part of me, this Age of Reason," he said.
Rational thinking was part of the Enlightenment, Closs said.
"Many thought with rational thinking, man could solve all of his problems," he said. "They are an outgrowth of that thinking."
Closs said rational thinking led some to believe men had to solve all of their problems alone which led to Deism, Closs explained.
"Deism had no influence on my thinking," he said.
Closs said the Great Awakening, which was a counter balance to Deist thinking, was another influence in Washington's life.
The Great Awakening still has its effects today, Closs said.
"The Great Awakening helped construct the model of what it is to be an American," he said.
Washington stressed a strong central government and republic, Closs said.
"Government exists at the discretion of the people," he said.
The Revolution created a model of universal values, consensual government and fighting against tyranny, he said.
"What it did not do is create a nation," he said.
Washington often called the Revolution "the Great Cause."
"We saw ourselves at the beginning of the Great Cause as defenders of the Constitution," he said.
Closs urged students to read the Declaration of Independence because we must give Thomas Jefferson credit for writing it.
"If you haven't read it, you should," he said. "You can go on the Internet, whatever that thing is."
Closs explained classical republicanism as the way the republic in ancient Rome was governed. Washington described the attributes of a classical republican being ideal.
"A true republican had to be a person with the civic duty to serve the nation," he said. "You have to be a selfless person, you had to be a person of virtue and preferably a non-political person."