Constitution Day Activities 2009

“The happy Union of these States is a wonder; their Constitution a miracle; their example the hope of Liberty throughout the world.”

–James Madison

By Chelsee Bente, Edited by Cecilia M. Orphan

Constitution Day has arrived! Once again across the country universities, colleges and federal courts coordinated lesson plans, events and activities to observe the ratification of the United States Constitution and for those who have become U.S. citizens. To honor Constitution Day we have highlighted special events, activities and resources that ADP schools and partners have shared with us. Hopefully this post will provide your campus with future ideas in implementing Constitution Day as well as resources about this important founding document. For additional information about Constitution Day, please visit the ADP Website.

Norfolk State University Celebrates 5th Annual Constitution Day with a Week of Events

Norfolk State University (NSU) hosted weeklong festivities and events to celebrate Constitution Day. The week kicked off with the Lyman Beecher Brooks Library staff playing DVDs about the constitution as well as a voter registration drive hosted by the American Political Science Association, Phi Alpha Delta Law-International/Pre-law chapter. The two groups also hosted a panel debate on the health care issue.

A highlight of the week was a community forum titled: “Diversifying the Supreme Court in the 21st Century.” Dr. Carol Pretlow, Associate Professor for Political Science, moderated the forum and guest speakers included Rosemarie Morehead, President of the Woman’s Alliance: Sisterhood of One, Delacy Stith, Professor of Criminal Justice from Elizabeth City State University, Shelton Collins, Historian and Writer and alumna of Norfolk State University and Maria Carrilo, Managing Editor of the Virginian Pilot.

The culminating event for the week was NSU’s Annual Constitution Day Program where Dr. Carolyn W. Meyers, President of Norfolk State University led the recitation of the U.S. Preamble and Delegate Algie T. Howell, Jr., 90th District served as a guest speaker.

Lastly, the Office of First Year Experience and the Humanities program is scheduled to study the U.S. Constitution through a series of lectures and multimedia resources.

University of Northern Colorado Student Plans Game Show for Constitution Day

Ryan Joy, Director of Legislative Affairs for the Student Senate at the University of Northern Colorado planned a creative evening for his fellow classmates to honor Constitution Day. Joy created a game show that tested students’ knowledge of the constitution versus knowledge of pop culture. Prizes were given to the winner and a forum followed the event with speakers discussing constitutional issues.

Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court Visits Indiana State University

Indiana State University (ISU) celebrated a week of activities for Constitution Day that began with a visit by the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, Randall T. Shepard. Shepard spoke at the university and was presented the President’s Award that recognizes those in public service. Shepard was the youngest chief justice in the nation when he was appointed in 1987. The National Association of Women Judges recognized him in support of his work on equity, especially on behalf of women and minorities. Over 150 students, the mayor and state representatives were in attendance making the event an overall success.

To continue the week of festivities a film about Patsy Mink, the “mother” of Title IX was shown. Lastly, on Constitution Day ISU students had the opportunity to attend a costumed performance of the preamble of the U.S. Constitution followed by a ceremonial signing of the constitution. An all day public seminar series titled “21st Century Relevancy of an 18th Century Document” was offered on campus. The final seminar was a public deliberative dialogue that focused on civic skills.

Fort Hays State University Celebrates Constitution Day with Reading of the Constitution and More

Fort Hays State University (FHSU) offered readings of the constitution by notable members of the campus community and community at large including: Congressman Jerry Moran, FHSU President Dr. Ed Hammond, FHSU Provost Dr. Larry Gould, State Senator Janis Lee, State Representative Eber Phelps, The Honorable Edward Bouker, Hays Daily News Editor Pat Lowry, Ellis County Democratic Party Chair Glenn Staab, Ellis County Republican Party Chair John Pyle, students and teachers from area schools, and many more. In addition, “Thoughts on Democracy” artwork was displayed as well as artwork from a graphic arts class. To conclude the festivities the National Anthem was sung by Fort Hays Singers.

Constitutional Conversation at North Carolina Central University

North Carolina Central University’s Law School (NCCU) conducted a conversation among seasoned and new constitutional scholars about important constitutional questions raised by the election of the first African American president, Barack Obama. Seasoned scholars included attorneys Julius Chambers, Former NCCU Chancellor and noted civil rights attorney, Irving Joyner of NCCU Law School, and Anita Earls of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. New Scholars included Ellorm Ofori, NCCU undergraduate student, Ebony McLeod, NCCU undergrad student, Savaun Perry, NCCU law student and Professor Ansel Brown of the political science department. NCCU Law professor April Dawson moderated the conversation.

CSU Stanislaus Observes Constitution Day

California State University Stanislaus observed Constitution Day with a video discussing the founding fathers and their efforts in forming our government. The day continued with the distribution of pocket sized constitutions, American flag pins and quizzes on the Declaration of Independence. To conclude the day, Dr. Bret Carroll, Professor of History spoke at Modesto Junior College on “What Were the Framers Thinking? The Constitution and its Time.”

SUNY Brockport Hosts Naturalization Ceremony

Sixty-eight individuals took the Oath of Citizenship on Constitution and Citizenship Day at State University College at Brockport. United States Magistrate Judge Jonathon W. Feldman conducted the ceremony for 68 citizens from 36 different countries. The ceremony concluded a conference on diversity that was hosted by the campus and was attended by over 1,000 participants.

University of Central Oklahoma Celebrates Constitution Day

On September 15, the University of Central Oklahoma hosted Abby Kiesa, Youth Coordinator and Researcher at The Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE), Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts University. Kiesa spoke in President Webb’s Lessons in Leadership course in Constitution Hall. Kiesa also led a civic engagement workshop for UCO students, staff, and faculty in the Heritage Room. The Four Freedoms Forum provided students with the opportunity to engage in a facilitated discussion with professors, community members and other students on the connection between our civic responsibilities and issues that matter most to students. The Wolfsonian’s “Thoughts on Democracy: Reinterpreting Norman Rockwell’s Four Freedoms Posters” were displayed on campus throughout the week.

ADP Partner, National Constitution Center Launches a New Constitution Day Web Site

The National Constitution Center launched a new constitution day site for 2009! It includes new media and is designed to be more educational and interactive. www.constitutioncenter.org/ConstitutionDay

Federal Courts Offer Constitution Day and Citizenship Day Resources

This year the federal courts celebrated Constitution Day and Citizenship Day with a multimedia show on naturalization ceremonies, historic landmarks, and civic events. Discussion questions and answers related to citizenship may be found at http://www.uscourts.gov/outreach/index.html.

For further information, contact National Outreach Manager Rebecca Fanning at rebecca_fanning@ao.uscourts.gov.

Interesting Facts about the U.S. Constitution

  • The U.S. Constitution is the oldest acting and shortest written Constitution of any major government in the world
  • At the time of the signing of the Constitution, the U.S. population was 4 million; today it is 300 million
  • The word “democracy” does not appear in the Constitution at all
  • The Constitution is housed at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., however when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safe keeping
  • George Washington was the tallest delegate to the Constitutional Convention at 6’2”. His fellow Virginian James Madison was the shortest at 5’4’’.
  • Rhode Island did not send a delegate at all because they saw the convention as a conspiracy to overthrow the established government.

Question: What did your campus do for Constitution Day?

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