“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.”—James Madison, 1788
On September 17, 2015, universities and schools throughout the country will celebrate Constitution Day, the day in 1787 when the final draft of the U.S. Constitution was signed and sent off to the states for review and ratification.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania will celebrate Constitution Day on September 14 with several events free and open to the community.
Constitution Day commemorates the September 17 signing of the Constitution, which is 228 years old this year.
Events begin with the traditional public reading of the Constitution by members of the IUP community on September 14 from noon to 1:00 p.m. in front of Stapleton Library.
Participants will receive a special Constitution Day t-shirt and a pocket-sized Constitution.
In collaboration with the IUP Office of Student Life and Dr. Gwen Torges of the IUP Department of Political Science, “A Casual Conversation with the Framers of the U.S. Constitution” will be presented on September 14 at 6:00 p.m. in the Hadley Union Building’s Ohio Room.
The presentation is a conversation with four of the Constitution’s authors—Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Charles Pinckney and James Madison. These Founders will be portrayed, respectively, by IUP political science professors David Chambers, Steven Jackson, and Mac Fiddner, and by history professor Joe Mannard.
The discussion is designed to provide insight to the authors’ thoughts when they wrote the U.S. Constitution, as well as how they might view contemporary constitutional challenges. Audience participation and questions are encouraged.
The presentation is the opening program for IUP’s
Six O’Clock Series. This programming, offered Monday evenings throughout the academic semester, is organized to offer IUP students, employees, and community members the opportunity to learn about current issues and approach familiar topics from a new perspective.
Is your knowledge about the U.S. Constitution a little rusty? You’re not alone. According to a survey by the National Constitution Center, only 1.8 percent of college students knew that James Madison is considered the father of the U.S. Constitution, compared to 58.3 percent who know that Bill Gates is the father of Microsoft. The following links will take you to a variety of resources that provide information about the history and content of the U.S. Constitution.
Although this year marks the 228th anniversary of the Constitution’s signing, formal commemoration of Constitution Day is a relatively new phenomenon. Frustrated by the American public’s lack of even basic knowledge about their government and its history, Senator Robert Byrd decided to take a proactive approach to increase civic awareness. The West Virginian Senator authored legislation—which became law in December 2004—that requires universities to teach their students about the U.S. Constitution. Starting in 2005, on September 17 each year, every educational institution that receives any federal funds (and that includes just about every university in the country) must implement some sort of educational programming designed to raise awareness about the Constitution and its history.
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