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Constitution and Citizenship Day

Constitution and Citizenship Day

Grace College recognizes Constitution and Citizenship Day on or around September 17th each fall. Federal observance of this day began in 1940 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved a joint resolution to celebrate all who had “attained the status of citizenship” in America. In 2004, a new act of congress augmented observance to include commemoration of the signing of the U.S. Constitution and mandated that all publicly funded institutions of higher education provide some form of educational programming to mark the occasion.

Programming varies among colleges and universities. At Grace, we use this opportunity to explore broad themes and issues related to the intersection of Christian faith, politics, and American citizenship. Chapel has often served as the venue for observing Constitution Day, although other events and educational initiatives have been implemented through the years. Constitution Day events are organized by the History and Political Science Program (Dept. of Humanities) in partnership with other sectors of campus, such as Student Affairs. Past programing has included:

2020: Aaron Crabtree (Associate VP and Dean of Student Affairs) and Kierstyn Worthem (Student Coordinator, Council for Diversity and Inclusion) on “DEI, Christian Faith, and Racial Justice”

2019: Round table discussion: “Perspectives on Immigration” with Grace alumna Kirsten (Meade) Estose, Dr. Felipe Hinojosa (Associate Professor of History at Texas A&M), and Dr. Michael Bednarczuk (Instructor of Political Science at Grace College)

2018: Grace alumnus and educator Benjamin Hyde on “Citizenship and Diversity”

2017: Warsaw Schools superintendent Dr. David Hoffert on “Honoring World War II Veterans through Oral Histories”

2016: Dr. Jared Burkholder (Professor of History at Grace College) on “Political Voices from the Margins”

2015: Grace alumna and educator Betsey (Rumley) Vastbinder on “Service, Education, and Citizenship”

2014: Dr. Mark Norris (Professor of History at Grace College) on “Should Christians be Involved in Politics?”

2013: Campus film showing of Lincoln (2012) followed by discussion

2012: Dr. Ronald Manahan (President, Grace College and Theological Seminary); Rev. Bruce Barlow (Pastor, Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church) on “Christians and Politics”

2011: Dr. John Fea (author and Professor of History at Messiah College) on “Christian America and the Kingdom of God”. He wrote about his visit here: https://currentpub.com/2011/09/17/my-day-at-grace-college/

2010: Campus showing of select episodes of the television mini-series, John Adams (2008) followed by discussion

2009: Campus film showing of The Madness of King George (1994) followed by discussion, distribution of pocket copies of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence to students, and Morgan Library display of historic copies of the Toleration Act (1689) and the Stamp Act (1765) on loan from The Remnant Trust

2008: “The Formation of the Constitution” (Display in Philathea Hall) with educational resources provided to faculty

2007: Round table discussion: “Civil Rights, Citizenship, and Christian Community” with Dr. Mark Norris (Professor of History at Grace College), Rebecca Coleman (Coordinator for Field Experience in Social Work at Grace College), and Professor Benjamin Navarro, (Professor of Language at Grace College)

2006: Round table discussion: “Separation of Church and State” with Dr. Mark Norris (Professor of History at Grace College), Jon Herr (Grace College student), Mark Soto (Professor of Theological Studies at Grace Theological Seminary), Rebecca Coleman (Coordinator for Field Experience in Social Work at Grace College), and Skip Forbes (Professor of Religious Studies and Philosophy at Grace College)