It was September 17, 1787. Presided over by George Washington, 39 of 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention gathered for the last time in Philadelphia to sign the document they had created.
Now, 228 years later, the United States Constitution (with its seven articles and 27 amendments) is still the supreme law governing our country. A federal observance commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution, and is celebrated each year on September 17.
Keuka College will mark Constitution Day, Thursday, Sept. 17 with a panel discussion. Free and open to the public, it runs from 4:30-6 p.m. in Hegeman Hall room 109.
Dr. Chris Leahy, professor of history, and Linda Park, director of Lightner Library, along with students taking Constitutional Law with Dr. Angela Narasimhan, assistant professor of political science, will make up the panel.
“The purpose of our panel is to educate the audience on how the Constitution has changed, and the tension between having an enduring original document vs. one that reflects the political issues of the present day,” said Dr. Narasimhan.
According to Dr. Narasimhan, the panel will also discuss the Constitution and amendments that address current political issues.
“Some possible amendments include term limits for Congress and Supreme Court justices, so that they can’t stay in office forever and there is greater representation; limits on campaign spending; allowing foreign-born naturalized presidents; and eliminating the Electoral College,” added Dr. Narasimhan.
Created in 2004, Constitution Day, later named Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, is typically observed each September 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia.
America’s first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, was ratified in 1781, a time when the nation was a loose confederation of states, each operating like independent countries. The national government was comprised of a single legislature, the Congress of the Confederation; there was no president or judicial branch.
At the 1787 convention, delegates devised a plan for a stronger federal government with three branches—executive, legislative and judicial—along with a system of checks and balances to ensure no single branch would have too much power. The Bill of Rights—10 amendments guaranteeing basic individual protections such as freedom of speech and religion—became part of the Constitution in 1791.
To read the entire United States Constitution, or learn more about Constitution Day, click here.
Seventeen faculty and staff members were recognized for their service and dedication to Keuka College at Community Day Jan. 28.
Five-year service awards were presented to: Wendy Gaylord, dean for China programs; Penny Webber, office manager for Academic Success at Keuka (ASK); Katie Marcella, head women’s basketball coach; Vicki O’Connor, assistant professor of social work; and Dennis Hoins, general manager of facilities.
Ten-year service awards were presented to: Linda Park, librarian and director of Lightner Library; Pam Jennings, academic skills counselor for ASK; and Jan Enos, coordinator of international student services.
A 20-year service award was presented to Jackie Robinson, secretary of the Division of Basic and Applied Social Sciences.
Merit awards were presented to John Boccacino, sports information director; Eva Robbins, director of student activities; Tim Sellers, associate vice president for academic programs; Deb Gates, associate professor of nursing and chair, Division of Nursing; Carol Grover, controller; and Andy Hogan, manager of information and classroom technology.
Presidential Awards for Sustained Outstanding Achievement were presented to Anne Killen, associate vice president of Center for Professional Studies; and Jason Paige, head men’s lacrosse coach.
Keuka College honored veterans and active duty personnel with a Nov. 11 ceremony held in Hegeman 109 and on the lawn near the World War II memorial.
The ceremony featured remarks by College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera; Chris Leahy, associate professor of history; Sander Diamond, professor of history; and Linda Park, director of Lightner Library. Eric Detar, College chaplain, offered a prayer of remembrance, and members of the Penn Yan VFW Honor Guard also took part.
Before the ceremony, members of the College and area community signed some 580 holiday cards that will be sent to veterans and active-duty service personnel across America and abroad.
Part of the American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes program, the College campaign was sponsored by the Staff Advisory Council’s (SAC) Events Committee, co-chaired by Paulette Willemsen, secretary for the Division of Education and Division of Social Work, and BJ Hill, office manager for student affairs.
“Writing cards to our service men and women is a good way to spread holiday cheer and make them feel appreciated,” said Willemsen.
Vicki Tobias, database administrator and committee member, agrees.
“I had four brothers, a sister, and now a niece and nephew serve in the military, and I appreciate what they have done and continue to do,” she said.
Committee member Judy Gilmartin, administrative programmer, said writing her name on the cards “makes a more personal contact with a veteran, and I believe everyone should think about all of those in the service, not just those we know.”
Senior Caroline Arancio, an organizational communication major from Clinton, took time to sign a card because her best friend just returned from basic training, and “I want him to know that I am proud of him and support him.”
Olivia Hudson, a junior occupational science major from Adams, “doesn’t think the people in the military get enough credit for all they do,” while Bryan Chaffee, a sophomore criminal justice/criminology major from Keuka Park, wanted to “thank those who fight for our freedom.”
Aubrey Clark, a sophomore occupational science major from Fillmore; Dani Alred, a junior organizational communication major from Horseheads; Emily Grecco, a sophomore psychology major from Waverly; Jakiem Brown, a junior educational studies major from Rochester; Nicole Naidoo, a sophomore accounting major from Durban, South Africa; and Melissa Whipple, a sophomore psychology major from Victor all wanted to sign a card to show their appreciation for the service our military personnel provides.
Those who took part were asked to write a short message and sign their name on a card. In addition to writing messages and signing their names, many members of the campus and local community donated cards, including students at Keuka Lake School and Prattsburgh Central School, residents of Clinton Crest Manor, and participants in College’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
Keuka College will mark Veterans Day Monday, Nov. 11, with a 4 p.m. ceremony at the World War II memorial near Lightner Library. (In case of inclement weather, it will be held in Hegeman Hall 109.)
College President Jorge L. Díaz-Herrera will deliver remarks along with Chris Leahy, associate professor of history; Sander Diamond, professor of history; and Linda Park, director of Lightner Library. Rev. Eric Detar, College chaplain, will offer a prayer of remembrance, and members of the Penn Yan VFW Honor Guard are expected to take part.
After the ceremony, refreshments will be served in Lightner Library.
Erected by members of the Political Science and History Club in 2005, the memorial commemorates the 60th anniversary of V-E Day, honors World War II veterans, and recognizes the contributions Keuka College nurses made during the war.
Editor’s Note: This is the fourth part of our Fast Class video series, which showcases faculty and staff members discussing their areas of interest and expertise.