Indiana University of Pennsylvania will celebrate Constitution Day on September 13 with two events free and open to the community.

Constitution Day commemorates the September 17, 1787, signing of the US Constitution, which is 232 years old this year.

Sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Department of Political Science, events at IUP will begin with the traditional a public reading of the Constitution by members of the IUP community on Sept. 13 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in front of Stapleton Library, facing the Oak Grove. IUP President Michael Driscoll will begin the event with a reading of the Constitution’s Preamble.

This is the thirteenth year that IUP has hosted a public reading of the Constitution. As at past public readings, the first 100 participants will receive a special “We the People at IUP” t-shirt, as well as a pocket-sized copy of the Constitution and a star-shaped cookie.  

In the case of inclement weather, the public reading will take place in the lobby of the Humanities and Social Sciences building.

Later in the day, the intentions of the authors of the US Constitution will be explored in the Six O’Clock Series presentation: “Is it Time for a New US Constitution?” from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the Hadley Union Building Ohio Room.

When the Constitution was written in 1787, Thomas Jefferson said that he didn’t expect it to last more than 20 years. At 232 years old, the US Constitution is the oldest continuous constitution in the world. 

The events of the last couple of years, which have tested our constitutional system, make many people wonder whether the Constitution can continue to effectively serve the needs of our society.

Four of the Constitution’s authors—Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Charles Pinckney, and James Madison—will discuss the work they did at the Constitutional Convention.

This Sept. 13 program will allow participants a chance to ask these authors of the 1787 Constitution what they think. What did they hope to accomplish with the Constitution? Do they think that it’s time to draft a new governing document?

“Our Constitution is the oldest written constitution in the world, and that’s something of which to be proud,” Gwen Torges, political science faculty member and coordinator of IUP’s Constitution Day activities, said. “But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t consider whether or not it still meets our needs. 

“But before we recommend changes, it’s important to be familiar with our current Constitution.  That’s why events such as Constitution Day are important because we as citizens need to be familiar with the framework of our government so that we can hold our leaders accountable. Living under the rule of law requires that we know what the law is.”