National League of Cities Kicks Off ‘Roadshow’ Celebrating Organization’s 100th Anniversary

February 26, 2024 - (5 min read)

First Roadshow Stop to Take Place at the University of Kansas, Site of NLC’s Founding in 1924

LAWRENCE, KS – One hundred years ago, in 1924, the National League of Cities (NLC) was founded in Lawrence, Kansas at the University of Kansas. To commemorate this historic milestone, NLC, will kick off its Centennial Roadshow: 100 Years, 100 Cities, with the University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration, the League of Kansas Municipalities, and the City of Lawrence, Kansas for a day-long celebration at the University of Kansas.

As the site of NLC’s founding, Lawrence, Kansas will serve as the first stop in a nationwide roadshow organized by NLC. The roadshow will include stops at 100 cities in every region of the country, aimed at spotlighting the diversity, resilience, and transformation of America’s local communities. The roadshow will culminate at NLC’s City Summit conference in Tampa, Florida in November 2024.

“It’s an honor to kick off the National League of Cities’ Centennial Roadshow in Lawrence, Kansas, where this great organization was founded,” said Clarence Anthony, CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities. “Having the opportunity to gather at the University of Kansas allows us to reflect on NLC’s history and look ahead to the opportunities the next 100 years will bring for America’s cities, towns, and villages. After beginning our roadshow in Lawrence, we’ll be traveling from coast-to-coast, visiting cities of all sizes to celebrate all that local governments and their residents have given to our country over the last century.”

“The University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration is honored to be part of the continuing legacy of the National League of Cities in preparing the next generation of municipal leaders and advancing the capacity of local leaders,” said Dr. Maja Husar Holmes, Director of the University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration.

“I am thrilled to welcome all to the birthplace of the National League of Cities as we joyously commemorate its 100th anniversary, a testament to the enduring spirit of community and collaboration that defines our nation’s municipalities,” said Bart Littlejohn, Mayor of Lawrence.

“Kansas played a significant role in the National League of Cities’ founding, with our own John Stutz leading the organization in its early years. Like NLC, the League of Kansas Municipalities has always prioritized serving our members by listening well and responding to local needs. Today, as cities face challenges like infrastructure renewal, affordable housing, and other critical issues, NLC remains an invaluable resource—connecting local leaders and amplifying their voices on the national stage,” said Nathan Eberline, Executive Director of the League of Kansas Municipalities.

The event will include a panel discussion about the founding of NLC, what cities were experiencing during the early part of the last century that led to the creation of the organization, and the myriad of ways NLC has helped shape national policy on behalf of local governments over the last 100 years.

Panelists will include:

  • Clarence Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities
  • The Honorable Henry Cisneros, Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Former NLC President, and Former Mayor of San Antonio, TX
  • Nathan Eberline, Executive Director, League of Kansas Municipalities
  • Penny Postoak Ferguson, County Manager, Johnson County, KS

The panel will take place at the Kansas Union in Lawrence, Kansas from 6 to 8 PM on Thursday, February 29. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Maja Husar Holmes, Director of the University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration.

As NLC celebrates its 100th anniversary and looks ahead to the next century, it is proud to have the support of a select group of partners who are deeply invested in the future of local government and NLC. These partners, known as the Centennial Collection, include Enterprise Mobility, Google, and Wells Fargo.

National League of Cities History

In 1924, 10 state municipal leagues came together at the University of Kansas to create a new, national organization to serve as a clearinghouse for information about municipal government. Over the next 100 years, the nonpartisan National League of Cities has grown in size and influence, serving as a trusted resource for mayors, city council members, and municipal government staff, providing them with unparalleled research and technical expertise.

NLC, now based in Washington, DC, serves as a relentless advocate for the nation’s cities, towns, and villages in our nation’s capital, and has played a historic role in shaping some of the country’s most significant pieces of public policy. Among these are the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the passage of the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, the American Rescue Plan Act, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. As a testament to the organization, presidents of the National League of Cities have gone on to become governors, members of Congress, senators, and cabinet secretaries.


The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions.