Jack Miller Center Supporting Constitution Day Programs at 35 Colleges and Universities Including Seven Chicago Area Campuses

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Chicago heartland leads in number of Constitution Day commemorative programs; Harvard professor to speak at Northwestern

A total of 35 colleges and universities, including Yale, Emory, Northwestern, Illinois Institute of Technology, Notre Dame, Duke, Columbia, Villanova, and Brown, will receive support from the Jack Miller Center to conduct Constitution Day educational programs on a wide-range of topics to commemorate the federally mandated Constitution Day observance on September 17th.

In 2004, Congress passed legislation requiring that every institution of higher education receiving federal funds hold an educational program on the Constitution on September 17, the day delegates to the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787 to sign the completed Constitution. While campus administrators are generally aware of the federal mandate to hold Constitution Day programs, they often lack the resources to mount successful events.

Jack Miller Center Constitution Day Initiative

With a lead gift from the Andrea Waitt Carlton Family Foundation (Nashville, TN), the Jack Miller Center (JMC) launched its Constitution Day initiative (CDI) in 2011 to increase awareness of the Constitution Day mandate and assist campuses in developing substantive educational programs. With a nationwide network of more than 600 professors, many of whom specialize in the study and teaching of the American constitutional tradition, the Jack Miller Center is ideally suited to play an important role in building awareness of Constitution Day.

During the course of the past three years, JMC has supported more than 100 programs across the country, providing thousands of students new opportunities to explore the centrality of constitutionalism to a better understanding of the American experience, past and present.

Central to this effort is JMC’s Chicago Initiative, which brings together Chicago-area colleges and universities, students and donors in pursuit of the study of America’s Founding Principles and history.

This year, JMC will support programs at 35 colleges and universities nationwide to be held on or near September 17, including several in the Chicago area. Local schools participating in this year’s Constitution Day Initiative include Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), IIT-Kent College of Law, Lake Forest College, Carthage College, the University of Notre Dame, Roosevelt University, and Northwestern University. These schools will hold a series of events beginning on Constitution Day and extending into early October.

The highlight of the Chicago-area events will be a lecture, On What the Framers Would Mean by "Corruption" and Q&A session with Harvard Professor Lawrence Lessig on September 20, co-hosted by the Illinois Institute of Technology and Northwestern University’s Program in Legal Studies held at Northwestern Law School (35 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago). The event, which is open to the public, begins at 5 pm and will be live-streamed on the Web.

Professor Lessig is director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and is the author of several books, including Republic Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress And A Plan to Stop It. (Twelve Hatchett Book Group, Oct. 2011). He is a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark, and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications, and he has called for state-based activism to promote substantive reform of government with a Second Constitutional Convention. He has appeared on numerous television programs including “Morning Joe” and “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC and “The Daily Show and “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central.

“What is so exciting and valuable about the JMC Constitution Day Initiative is that it helps support programs of real substance for the campus community,” said Dr. Michael Andrews, executive officer and vice president for academic programs at the Jack Miller Center. “The program offers students a unique opportunity to engage in a civil discussion of the fundamental questions animating a free society with some of our nation’s leading scholars, jurists and officials. We are very pleased to support our faculty partners in the Chicago area.”

About the Jack Miller Center
The Jack Miller Center (JMC) is a nonpartisan 501 (C) (3) public foundation dedicated to reinvigorating education in America’s Founding Principles and history. The foundation works with college faculty, administrators, and donors to improve this essential education for students. The JMC’s community of professors currently totals more than 600 on more than 190 campuses across the United States and includes many of our nation’s leading scholars in American history and political theory. In addition, since its founding, JMC has invested in partner programs on 52 campuses, including Ivy League institutions, flagship state universities and leading liberal arts colleges. JMC is led by its founder and chairman, Jack Miller, a prominent Chicago philanthropist, and its president, Mike Ratliff (Rear Admiral, USN ret.), the former chief of Naval Intelligence. Mr. Miller and Admiral Ratliff began their efforts in higher education in 2004 and incorporated the JMC as an independent foundation in 2007 with headquarters in Philadelphia.

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Janis Burenga
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