Constitution Day originated in an appropriations bill (Public Law 108-447) enacted on December 8, 2004, which requires educational institutions that receive federal funds to stage programming on September 17 of every year in honor of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. This commemoration took the place of Citizenship Day, which was created on February 29, 1952, by the U.S. Congress, following the lead of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s patriotic “I Am An American Day” observances beginning in the late 1930s.
On September 17, 1787, the Constitution was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, and following a series of ratification debates, it went into effect when the ninth state, New Hampshire, voted for ratification on June 21, 1788. The government authorized by the Constitution began operations on March 4, 1789, the first day of the 1st U.S. Congress, and President George Washington was inaugurated on April 30, 1789. Today, the Constitution is the oldest surviving written constitution still in effect around the world.
Huntington University began Constitution Day observances in 2006 and stages educational programming every year on September 17 or the nearest available convocation date.
Past Constitution Day programs
2018 Huntington University hosted Rushmore Live!
2017 Dr. Kate Brown presented a lecture titled: George Washington and the Making of the U.S. Constitution.
2016 In anticipation of the 2016 president election, HU hosted a game of Constitutional Trivia that focused on Article II (the executive power) and presidential history.
2015 “After Marriage Equality: The Future of Constitutional Law Beyond Obergefell v. Hodges” | Panelists: Dr. Kate Brown (Professor, Huntington University), Steve Edinger (Attorney, U.S. Government), and Kris Burgess (Attorney)
2014 “The Broken Constitution: Amendments That Can Fix our Politics and Government.” | Panel discussion featuring Prof. Nancy C. Marcus (Professor of Law at Indiana Tech Law School) and Mr. John F. Branham (Adjunct Professor at Huntington University and formerly Huntington County Prosecutor).
2013 “Jeopardy!” style event with audience participation.
2012 “The U.S. Congress: Successes, Failures, and the Democratic Process” | Presentation by Dr. Fred Beuttler (Deputy Historian, U.S. House of Representatives).
2011 “From O.J. Simpson to Casey Anthony: Exploring the U.S. Constitution's Vision of Justice” | Presentation by Francis Lee Watson (IU McKinney School of Law).
2010 “Citizenship and the Constitution: Panel Discussion on the Fourteenth Amendment” | Featuring Hon. Daniel G. Heath (Allen County Superior Court), John L. Hill (IU School of Law), and Gavin Rose (ACLU).
2009 “Family Feud” style event with audience participation.
2008 Electoral College simulation program with audience participation.
2007 “Jeopardy!” style event with audience participation.
2006 “Security and Freedom: A Constitution Day Conversation.” Roundtable discussion featuring Lena N. Snethen (ACLU), Robert Vane (Indiana Republican Party), and Amy Richison (Huntington County Prosecutor).
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