September 13, 2018

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Celebrates Constitution Day with Ceremonial Signing, Reading, More

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University will observe Constitution Day from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, in Odum Library. This drop-in event is free of charge and open to all students, faculty, staff, alumni, retirees, and friends of Blazer Nation.

The observance will open with the singing of the National Anthem. Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU; Dr. Robert T. Smith, provost and vice president of academic affairs at VSU; and a few VSU students will read aloud the Constitution of the United States. Vivian Miller-Cody and Andy Gibbs of the Valdosta City Council will speak before and after the reading.  

Attendees will have an opportunity to sign a replica of the Constitution, take home a pocket Constitution and a United States flag, play a game of Constitutional Jeopardy, and participate in a special Founding Fathers photo project.

The Valdosta Branch of the American Association of University Women will sponsor a voter registration drive for Georgia residents interested in exercising their right to vote in the upcoming November General Election and future elections. This activity will be led by Dr. Christine James of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, an active member of the AAUW, and her students in PHIL 4120: Ethics and Public Policy, under the guidance of the Lowndes County Board of Elections.

American Sign Language interpreting services will be provided by VSU student volunteers.   

Emily Rogers, Odum Library reference librarian and associate professor, said the purpose of this event is to promote awareness and understanding of the Constitution and of Constitution Day. She and Tyler Tucker, a political science major from Fitzgerald, Georgia, organized VSU’s Constitution Day activities.  

“On Sept. 17, 1787, the Founding Fathers signed the most influential document in American history — the United States Constitution,” according to the National Constitution Center. “This document established the framework of our government and the rights and freedoms that ‘We the People’ enjoy today.”

U.S. Senator Robert Byrd, a democrat from West Virginia, designated Sept. 17 as a day to recognize all who have become citizens, either by birth or naturalization, and to learn more about the formation of the nation’s founding document. Constitution Day became a national observance in 2004.

“Our ideals of freedom, set forth and realized in our Constitution, are our greatest export to the world,” Byrd reportedly once said.

In honor of Constitution Day, all educational institutions receiving federal funding are required to hold an educational program pertaining to the U.S. Constitution.

VSU will continue its celebration of Constitution Day with an exhibit of books, government documents, and media about the Constitution and its interpretation. These items are located in the reference area of the library and will remain on display throughout the month of September.

Contact Emily C. Rogers at (229) 245-3748 or to learn more.

On the Web:

Constitution Fast Facts

• The U.S. Constitution was written in the same Pennsylvania State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed and where George Washington received his commission as commander of the Continental Army. Now called Independent Hall, the building still stands today on Independent Mall in Philadelphia, directly across from the National Constitution Center. 

• Written in 1787, the Constitution was signed on Sept. 17. But it wasn’t until 1788 that it was ratified by the necessary nine states. 

• The U.S. Constitution was prepared in secret, behind locked doors that were guarded by sentries. 

• Some of the original framers and many delegates in the state ratifying conventions were very troubled that the original Constitution lacked a description of individual rights. In 1791, Americans added a list of rights to the Constitution. The first 10 amendments became known as the Bill of Rights. 

• Of the 55 delegates attending the Constitutional Convention, 39 signed and three dissented. Two of America’s “founding fathers” didn’t sign the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson was representing his country in France, and John Adams was doing the same in Great Britain. 

• Established on Nov. 26, 1789, the first national “Thanksgiving Day” was originally created by George Washington as a way of “giving thanks” for the Constitution. 

• Of the written national constitutions, the U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest. 

• At 81, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention, and at 26, Jonathon Dayton of New Jersey was the youngest. 

• The original Constitution is on display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, it was moved to Fort Knox for safekeeping. 

• More than 11,000 amendments have been introduced in Congress. Thirty-three have gone to the states to be ratified, and 27 have received the necessary approval from the states to actually become amendments to the Constitution.

Source: National Constitution Center