Constitution Day 2015 at UK

Constitution Day at UK 2015

September 17 is Constitution Day and Citizenship Day (also known just as Constitution Day) which commemorates the signing of the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787. In honor of Constitution Day, all educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the U.S. Constitution.

Under direction from the Office of the President and the Provost, the Division of Undergraduate Education (UGE) leads a cross-campus gathering of support for offering Constitution Day activities each fall at the University of Kentucky. Staff and faculty in UGE work with many different student organizations and units on campus to develop a campus-wide approach to the celebration of our rights and responsibilities as citizens of the U.S. and to develop habits of citizenship in a new generation of Americans.

Constitution Day 2015 - Thursday, September 17th

       and download your Constitution Day 2015 poster (11"x17") here

Constitution Day Essay Contest  -
Cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place - deadline for submission is September 18th at 11:59 p.m.
sponsored by the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center, the Office of the President and the Division of Undergraduate Educaiton - download a flyer (.pdf file) here

Freedom of Speech for Higher Education Faculty - 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., W.T.Young Library auditorium
a presentation on faculty speech and academic freedom by Professor Scott Bauries, University of Kentucky College of Law (see SSRN publication page); co-hosted by Professor Andrew Hippisley, UK Senate Council Chair, and Professor John R. Thelin, UK College of Education
sponsored by the Division of Undergraduate Education - download a flyer (.pdf file) here

Interactive Issues Grafitti Wall for Constitution Day: "What Civic Issues are Most Important to You?" - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. near Main Building north lawn
An electronic graffiti wall will be set up near the mid-day festivities at the Main Building to write/draw in answer to the question posed in the title of this event above. The resulting images will be projected on the UGE Constitution Day website and during the Town Hall meeting beginning at 7 p.m. in the W.T.Young Library Auditorium.
sponsored by the student association for the Certified NonProfit Professional Program, Transformative Learning

Voter Registration and Information on Student Civic Engagement - 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. near Main Building north lawn
Organized by SGA Civic Engagement Coordinator and Gaines Fellow Trevor McNary and SGA Director of Government Relations and Gaines Fellow Boone Proffitt.
sponsored by UK Student Government Association - see the SGA news post about this event on the SGA website 

HON 251 students' Citizen Kentucky Project - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Main Building north lawn
Students in the HON251 class are organizing a program including speeches on the U.S. Constitution by invited candidates on the November 3 ballot and other guests (see list below); SGA Vice President Jenna Hollinden; and, Henry Clay reenactor George McGee (courtesy of the Kentucky Humanities Council). Flags will be presented by the UK ROTC honor guard with a short concert by the Christ The King middle school choir. The HON251 class will have a series of stations representing each Article in the Constitution - and those who can answer all of the quiz questions at all the tables will receive a prize. Apple pie will be served with lemonade for all.
sponsored by the UK Honors Program & Citizen Kentucky Project, School of Journalism as well as the Office of the President and the Division of Undergraduate Education

Speeches planned will be presented by

  • Candidates for KY Lt. Governor: Jenean Hampton (GOP ticket) and Heather Curtis (Independent ticket) 
  • Candidate for KY Agriculture commissioner: Jean-Marie Lawson Spann
  • Candidate for KY Secretary of State: Stephen Knipper 
  • Jacqueline Pitts, Communications Manager of Public Affairs, KY Chamber of Commerce 
  • UK Journalism/Pol Sci student who interned at Lexington Herald-Leader: Matt Young 
  • Michael Childress, UK Martin School of Public Policy and Administration
  • Gayle Hilleke, director of Kentucky Campus Compact 
  • Emily Wall, consultant to "What's Next, Kentucky" 
  • Clair Lorell, American Society of News Editors,  Washington, D.C. 
  • Anyssa Roberts and Todd Stoltzfus, Certified Nonprofit Professional Program, Transformative Learning, UGE 
  • Racha Haffar (on Fulbright to teach Arabic at UK) a journalist from Tunisia who personally participated in the "Arab Spring"

Advocacy through Digital Citizenship - 12:30-1:45 p.m. in the VIP Center, basement of Frazee Hall
A discussion about digital citizenship and how to advocate for beliefs/causes in responsibile ways - how to engage in digital dialogue appropriately with other who may have differing opinions on current national topics. Food and drinks provided courtesy of the Office of the President and the Division of Undergraduate Education.
sponsored by UK Counseling Center and VIP Center - download a flyer (.pdf file) here

The Gender and Citizenship Challenge - 12:30 - 1:45 p.m. in room 122 White Hall Classroom Building
A challenge game led by Dr. Kathi Kern, Chellgren Professor, and other historians: Drs. Anatasia Curwood, Melanie Goan, Kathy Newfont, and Amy Taylor. Students will compete in teams to build a timeline of pivotal moments in the history of the United States where citizenship expanded or contracted. Topics include: voting rights, property rights, racial and gender equality, desegregation, and Title Nine. Come test your knowledge, learn about a "usable past," and compete for prizes. Food and drink provided courtesy of the Office of the President and the Division of Undergraduate Education. Follow the exciting developments on Twitter using the hashtag #AskaUKhistorian.
Co-sponsored by the History Department and the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT)

Constitutional Decisions and LGBTQ* Rights - 3:30 - 5 p.m. Central Hall II, Honors Program lobby (enter from west side of the building, 361 Huguelet Drive)
A forum on legislation and current LGBTQ* issues moderated by Joel Parker, Senior Honors Peer Mentor and Singletary Service Mentor. Panelists include Judge Ernesto Scorsone, Michael Aldridge (Executive Director of ACLU Kentucky), Lance Poston (Director, Office of UK LGBTQ* Resources), Orvis Kean (UK MLK Center and an activist in the LGBTQ* Community), Michael Frazier (Honors student and LGBTQ* and Constitutional Equality Activist). Food and drinks provided courtesy of the Office of the President and the Division of Undergraduate Education.
sponsored by UK Honors Program

Picking Cotton in Context: A Discussion on Issues from the Common Reading Experience book - issues of sexual assault, race in the U.S. criminal justice system - 5:30 p.m. in room 114 White Hall Classroom Building
sponsored by the Martin L. King Jr. Cultural Center

Constitution Day Town Hall Forum - The Power of Symbols: Confederate Imagery in the Public Space  - 7 p.m. in W.T. Young Library auditorium - free parking for members of the central Kentucky community can be found in PKS#2 at the end of Hilltop Drive
This town hall forum will explore diverse issues and perspectives regarding the exhibition of Confederate monuments, flags, and symbols on public land and in public buildings.  Panelists will thoughtfully and respectfully explore the history of Confederate images, elicit public discussion regarding the influence of Confederate symbols, and explore potential responses and resolutions for moving forward. Moderated by Associate Provost Ben Withers, the panel includes Professor Arnold Farr (Philosophy, UK), John Johnson (Executive Director, Kentucky Human Rights Commission), Nan Plummer (President, Lex Arts), and Professor Mark Summers (History, UK). Questions and comments on this topic can be tweeted @UKYCNP with the hashtag #UKYTownHall for inclusion during the forum. Download flyer (.pdf file) here.
sponsored by the student association for the Certified NonProfit Professional Program, Transformative Learning

How did Constitution Day come to be?

Since the mid-twentieth century, Citizenship Day was celebrated in addition to Independence Day and Presidents Day as a way to observe the adoption of the U.S. Constitution by the American Congress of the Confederation on September 17, 1787.  Its origins came from the nation-wide promotion during and after World War I of the “I am an American” Day. By 1949 the governors of all the states had proclaimed their own Citizenship Day celebrations. Congress proclaimed in 1952 that the “I am an American Day” be renamed “Citizenship Day.”  In response to a congressional resolution petitioned by the Daughters of the American Revolution for a week of celebration of American citizenship, Constitution Week was officially enacted on August 2, 1956, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The purpose of the observance week was to promote study and education about the constitution and to celebrate those who have become U.S. citizens. In 2004 a law establishing Constitution Day and Citizenship Day mandated that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American constitution on September 17th. The goal is for “Federal, State, and local officials, as well as leaders of civic, social, and educational organizations, to conduct ceremonies and programs that bring together community members to reflect on the importance of active citizenship, recognize the enduring strength of our Constitution, and reaffirm our commitment to the rights and obligations of citizenship in this great Nation” ( For open access to resources for Constitution Week, see the National Archives resources on the Constitution at or the Library of Congress resources at