Constitution Day 2017 at UK

Constitution Day at UK, Monday, September 18, 2017


The Commonwealth and Our Common Future


What does being a Kentuckian mean to you? What makes our Commonwealth unique? How do our identities as individuals, as Kentuckians, and as Americans hold us together as a community—and what happens when they start to divide us?  I AM KENTUCKY is a day-long celebration of the many Kentucky identities that create our campus and our community. The U.S. Constitution, the founding document of our nation, is a system of guidelines for how diverse peoples can come to agreement and forge a common identity. Through lectures, panels, stories, and discussion about individuals, the commonwealth, and the nation, I AM KENTUCKY explores the Kentucky identities we all carry together.  NOTE: This year’s Constitution Day marks the kick-off of the College of Arts & Sciences Passport to the World theme in 2017-18, "Keys To Our Common Future: UK’s Year of Civics and Citizenship."

8 a.m.
First Amendment Essay Contest
(online submission due before midnight)
Self enroll at ~ for undergraduates only ~ essays limited to 750 words
Cash prizes for 1st place ($500), 2nd place ($300), 3rd place ($200) winners. Up to three honorable mentions will receive a book award: James Madison and The Struggle for the Bill of Rights. Professor Richard Labunski of the UK School of Journalism and Media is the author of the book. The three winners will receive their awards at the Scripps Howard First Amendment Center's Celebration on Sept. 28th, 6 p.m. W.T.Young Library Auditorium.
8–11 a.m.
Coffee With the Constitution
Grab coffee and donuts on us, pick up your own copy of the Constitution, get inspired to write for our essay contest, and learn more about the day’s events. Look for our tables at the White Hall Classroom patio, Jacobs Science Building atrium, and the 90.
10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Rivers of Earth in Appalachia: The Work of James Still
M.I.King Library lobby
Stop by Special Collections Research Center in the M.I.King Library lobby to learn more about one of Kentucky’s honored poets, James Still, and view the debut of the James Still Papers and Photograph Collection.
11 a.m.–12 p.m.
Different Perspectives to Form a Collective
W.T.Young Auditorium
Join representative of student groups from across campus for a panel on the current state of our university and our country. Led by Ben Childress, president of UK SGA.
11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Civic Engagement Fair
Visit booths around Bowman’s Den to learn about how to get more involved in the communities and issues that move you.
Eat The Bluegrass
W.T.Young lawn
Stop by Young Library for Kentucky-themed lunch items, lawn games, music by WRFL, and more!
Programming organized by Ben Childress and SGA (back-up setting in case of rain is at White Hall lobby).
1–2 p.m.
Constitutional Controversy in the Age of Trump
W.T.Young Auditorium
Join expert UK political scientists for a rousing panel discussion: Lawrence Baum (Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at Ohio State University, his research focuses on the explanation of judges' behavior in decision making), Justin Wedeking (UK Political Science, specializing in the role of courts in the U.S.), Mike Zilis (UK Political Science, research focuses on politicized resistance to U.S. Supreme Court).
2–3 p.m.
America’s Unwritten Constitution: A Guide for Civic Engagement
W.T.Young Auditorium
UK historian Jane Calvert uncovers the real story behind the writing of our nation’s founding document.
3–4 p.m.
I AM KENTUCKY reception
W.T.Young Gallery
Missed lunch? Stop by the Alumni Gallery at Young Library for finger food, information on the Constitution Day essay contest, and conversations about what it means to be a Kentuckian today.
4–5 and 5–6 p.m.
KY Stands for “Know Your”: The Amendments and American Rights
W.T.Young Auditorium
The Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers presents back-to-back workshops on the rights provided by the 6th, 8th, and 14th amendments. Led by Rebecca Ballard DiLoretto (UK Law and UK Social Work) with KACDL presidents David Ward and Amy Hanna.
6–7:30 p.m.
Keys to The Commonwealth: Why We Serve Kentucky–And Why You Should, Too!
W.T.Young Auditorium
Local and state politicians from across the aisles and around the region talk candidly about what it means to them to represent the people of the Commonwealth, how they got into politics, and what they think the future holds for Kentucky.


  • Bill Cunningham, Kentucky Supreme Court Justice
  • Colmon Elridge, VP of Global Development and Membership, International Coach Federation; Executive Assistant to Governor of Kentucky (2007-15); Executive VP, Young Democrats of America (2009-11)
  • Iris Wilbur, Director of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Greater Louisville Inc., formerly Regional Political Director, National Republican Senatorial Committee, DC Metro Area (2015-16); Political Director, Team Mitch (2013-14); State Director, New Mexico, Republican National Committee (2012) 

Moderator: Bill Goodman, Executive Director, Kentucky Humanities Council





See recent past Constitution Day at UK celebrations: