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Villanova University to Celebrate Constitution Day

Matthew J. Ryan Center sponsors Sept. 18 lecture to commemorate signing of the Constitution

Villanova, Pa. – The Matthew J. Ryan Center at Villanova University will celebrate Constitution Day with a September 18 lecture by Dr. James Stoner, Professor of Politics, Louisiana State University titled “Citizens or Exiles? Catholics and the Constitution.” The lecture, free and open to the public, will take place at 4 p.m. in Bartley Hall, Room 1010, on Villanova’s main campus. 

In 2004, Congress passed legislation that requires every institution of higher education receiving federal funds to hold an educational program about the Constitution on September 17, the day delegates to the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787 to sign the completed Constitution. The Matthew J. Ryan Center at Villanova University has held programs since 2009 on a variety of constitutional subjects including "The United States Constitution: An Enduring Blueprint for Freedom in a Changing Society," “Censorship and Death,” and “Marriage, the Courts, and the Constitution.”

The Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good at Villanova University promotes inquiry into the principles and processes of free government and seeks to advance understanding of the responsibilities of statesmen and citizens of constitutional democratic societies. The Center honors distinguished graduate of Villanova University and Villanova Law School, Matthew J. Ryan, who served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for over 40 years. During his tenure in the House, Ryan held the position of Majority and Minority Whip, Majority and Minority Leader, and from 1995 until 2003 he served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“In our world today, the threats of terrorism and totalitarianism surround us. As we celebrate Constitution Day – the day the Framers signed the U.S. Constitution and presented it to an anxious nation – it is a good time to remember their hard work and sacrifices, and to call to mind the blessings of the rule of law,” said Colleen Sheehan, Director of the Matthew J. Ryan Center at Villanova University.

This Constitution Day lecture is made possible, in part, by the Jack Miller Center (JMC), a non-partisan, Philadelphia-based non-profit organization dedicated to reinvigorating education on the U.S. Constitution. The JMC provides matching funds to outstanding programs on college campuses across the country that explore the central role of the Constitution to understand the American experience, past and present.

“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 Professor Colleen Sheehan at Villanova University.”

About Villanova: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others.  There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the Villanova University School of Law, and the College of Professional Studies. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.