Constitution Day Celebrations

As the University of Louisville's sponsor for U.S. Constitution Day, the McConnell Center invites the UofL and greater Louisville community to join us for a series of events designed to commemorate the 1787 signing of the pivotal document.

As part of the McConnell Center's continuing mission to assist Kentucky citizens in developing a better understanding of the U.S. Constitution and American history, the McConnell Center is proud to sponsor UofL's celebration of Constitution Day.

"We are glad to be at the center of UofL's efforts to remind the American citizenry of our rich and essential constitutional heritage," said Gary L. Gregg, PhD, director of the McConnell Center.

The following events are part of the McConnell Center's celebration of the 39 men who signed the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Topics and events sponsored by the McConnell Center vary by year. 


"Political Polarization, the Classroom, and the Future of Civil Discourse" Sept. 17, 12:30 pm, SAC multipurpose room

  • Dr. John Rose, Associate Director of the Civil Discourse Project at the Kenen Institute for Ethics at Duke University, will give a lecture titled "Political Polarization, the Classroom, and the Future of Civic Discourse." The lecture will occur in the Student Activities Center's multipurpose room at UofL, and discussions on the state of civic education will follow. A livestream of the lecture will be made available on our website. Lunch will be provided at 12 pm to those who RSVP.


"The Constitution as Critical History," Sept. 20, 6 pm (register)

  • William B. Allen, PhD, will deliver a virtual Constitution Day lecture on "The Constitution as Critical History." Allen is Emeritus Dean of James Madison College and Emeritus Professor of Political Science at Michigan State University. The author of George Washington: America’s First Progressive and Rethinking Uncle Tom: The Political Philosophy of H.B. Stowe, Allen has edited and published numerous works on American political thought. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer at the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. He was also the 2018 to 2020 Senior Scholar in Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder and is the former chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Free Pocket-Size U.S. Constitutions, Sept. 17, 11:30 a.m., Ekstrom Library

  • Stop by Ekstrom Library's east wing (masks required) to grab a free copy of the U.S. Constitution on Friday, Sept. 17, beginning at 11:30 a.m. Posters about the signers of the Constitution will also be on display in Ekstrom Library. Learn more


Virtual Debate, Sept. 17, 6-8 pm

  • A Constitution Day Debate: "Resolved: The Anti-Federalists Were Right: The Constitution Should Not Have Been Ratified" (link to video recording). This scholarly debate examined the Federalist and Anti-Federalist debates at America's founding, as well as the continuing impact of the debates in American government today. Featuring:
    • Michael Federici, PhD (Middle Tennessee State University)
    • Adam Tate, PhD (Clayton State University)
    • Moderated by Dean Colin Crawford (UofL Louis D. Brandeis School of Law)

Book Launch, Sept. 17, 6 pm

  • Reflection and Choice: The Federalists, the Anti-Federalists, and the Debate that Defined America, published September 2020, offers side-by-side consideration of the central debates on ratifying the U.S. Constitution. McConnell Center Director Gary Gregg, PhD, and Nathan Coleman, PhD, offer sectional introductions on core debate themes.
  • The book launch will also kick off a series of related podcasts, a year-long virtual lecture series on related topics and integrated educational resources available to Kentucky school teachers to integrate lessons on the founding American debates into the classroom. 

About Constitution Day

In 2004, U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd added an amendment to the Omnibus Spending Bill in Congress, thus establishing Constitution Day as an American federal observance. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Education mandated that all public funded educational institutions and federal agencies provide programming on the history and importance of the Constitution.

Additional Resources

Previous McConnell Center-Sponsored Constitution Day Events by Year


  • Sept. 11, 6-7:30 pm, Chao Auditorium: A Constitution Day Debate: "Did America Have a Christian Founding?" This scholarly debate will examine the role of religion in America's founding, as well as its role in American government today. Free and open to the public.
    • Pro: Mark David Hall, PhD, Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Politics at George Fox University
    • Con: Andrew L. Seidel, JD, Constitutional Attorney at the Freedom from Religion Foundation
  • Sept. 17, 11 am-2 pm: Constitutions & Cupcakes | McConnell Scholars will promote the anniversary of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and distribute free pocket-size Constitutions to faculty, staff and students at the Student Activities Center (Level 1).
  • Sept. 17, all day: McConnell Center-sponsored Founding Fathers posters will be placed around Ekstrom Library to commemorate Constitution Day


  • Sept. 24, 9 am: CIA Director Gina Haspel, McConnell Center's Distinguished Speaker Series (Miller Information Technology Center's Bigelow Hall) - story, photos, full video
  • Sept. 14, 6-7:30 pm: A Constitution Day Debate, "Reading the Constitution in 2018: One Document, Two Visions," featuring Lee Strang (Federalist Society) and Joshua Douglas (American Constitution Society). (Ekstrom Library's Chao Auditorium) - video of debate
  • Sept. 14, 11 am-1 pm: Constitution and cupcakes - McConnell Scholars promoted upcoming Constitution Week events and distributed free pocket-size Constitutions to faculty, staff and students at the Student Activities Center


  • Sept. 21, 2 pm: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, McConnell Center's Distinguished Speaker Series (Comstock Auditorium, School of Music) - distribution of pocket-size U.S. Constitutions
  • Sept. 18-22: Poster display of signers of the U.S. Constitution (on display at Ekstrom Library)
  • Sept. 11, 6 pm: A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, Dr. Paul Kengor (Ekstrom Library's Chao Auditorium) - distribution of pocket-size U.S. Constitutions


  • Sept. 16, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.:Voter registration, constitutions and cupcakes (outside of the SAC's 2nd Floor Food Court)
  • Sept. 16, 6 p.m.: A Constitution Day Debate, "MVP of the American Founding: Alexander Hamilton vs. John Adams" (Ekstrom Library's Chao Auditorium)
  • Sept. 17, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.: Three Founding Visions of America: Alexander Hamilton, John Adams and James Wilson (a conference for Kentucky social studies teachers in the 2016 Teacher Scholar Program)
  • Sept. 19-23: Poster display of signers of the U.S. Constitution (on display at Ekstrom Library)


  • Poster display of signers of the U.S. Constitution - on display at Ekstrom Library
  • Voter registration, constitutions and cupcakes (open to the public-Sept. 17, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm in the SAC Food Court)
  • Constitution Day Quiz (10:00 am - 1:00 pm throughout campus)


  • Poster display of signers of the U.S. Constitution - on display in Ekstrom Library (open to the public)
  • Constitution Day quiz (see coverage in The Louisville Cardinal)
  • Voter registration, constitutions and cupcakes (open to the public)


  • Voter registration, constitutions and cupcakes (open to the public)
  • Constitution Day art contest (open to Ky. students, grades K-6)