Indiana University of Pennsylvania will celebrate Constitution Day on September 16, 2019, with two events free and open to the community.
Constitution Day commemorates the September 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 lead off with a public reading of the Constitution by members of the IUP community from noon to 1:00 p.m. in front of Stapleton Library, facing the Oak Grove. 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. IUP President Michael Driscoll will begin the event with a reading of the Constitution’s Preamble.
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 that evening: “A Casual Conversation with the Framers of the US Constitution” from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the Hadley Union Building Ohio Room. Four of the Constitution’s authors—Ben Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Charles Pinckney, and James Madison—will discuss the challenges in drafting the Constitution, and will speculate about what the Founders would think of today’s politics.
These Founders will be portrayed, respectively, by IUP political science professors David Chambers and Steven Jackson, by retired political science faculty Dighton “Mac” Fiddner, and by history professor Joe Mannard. Audience participation and questions are encouraged.
“This year we intend to ask the founders about the right to vote,” said Gwen Torges, political science faculty member and coordinator of IUP’s Constitution Day activities. “In recognition of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which extended the right to vote to women, we will ask the founders why so few people were eligible to vote in the early years of the United States.”
Torges encourages anyone and everyone to attend this year’s events. “Democracies don’t work very well if people don’t understand how the government works. One of the most important things that we can do is to read and understand our Constitution. Constitution Day gives us a chance to pause and think about what ‘We the People’ want from our government,” she said.