McConnell Center partners with James Madison’s Montpelier

(Nov. 12, 2014) LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville’s McConnell Center has partnered with the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier. The civic education partnership will allow Kentucky social studies teachers in the McConnell Center’s professional development network to further immerse themselves in primary source documents related to the U.S. Constitution.
McConnell Center partners with James Madison’s Montpelier

“We’re excited to offer Kentucky social studies teachers the extraordinary opportunity of studying the Constitution literally in James Madison’s backyard,” said Dr. Gary Gregg, director of the McConnell Center.

“Through our partnership, Kentucky social studies teachers have the opportunity to benefit from a truly transformational experience,” said Doug Smith, vice president for Montpelier’s Smith Center. “Learning about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights from top scholars on the grounds where James Madison first shaped his ideas is empowering, and we hope Kentucky teachers will use these conferences to inspire the next generation of American citizens,” Smith said.

Some participants in the McConnell Center’s Teacher Scholars Program will attend conferences at Montpelier as early as Spring 2015, Gregg said. Upcoming conferences will explore such themes as the creation the federal judiciary and the Bill of Rights, as well as the relationship between slavery and the U.S. Constitution. Gregg is also planning group visits to Montpelier for teachers and UofL McConnell Scholars, a group of 40 undergraduate scholarship students, in the next few years.

The non-partisan McConnell Center, created at UofL in 1991, prepares Kentucky’s top college undergraduate students to become future leaders and offers civic education programs for teachers, students and the public. The new partnership with James Madison’s Montpelier is one of a number of new partnerships and initiatives landed by the McConnell Center in 2014.

Montpelier, a 2,650-acre estate in Orange County, Virginia, was the lifelong home of U.S. President James Madison, considered the “Father of the Constitution” for his extensive writings related to the Constitutional Convention. The Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at Montpelier seeks to enable the public to expand its knowledge and understanding of the Constitution through nonpartisan online and on-site programs.

More than 35,000 teachers, legal experts and elected officials from all 50 states and more than 80 countries have participated in the Smith Center’s programs.