Northwood University & Jack Miller Center to Host Constitution Speaker Series

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The Speaker Series lists three dates.

MIDLAND, MI – Northwood University’s Forum for Citizenship and Enterprise, in partnership with the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History, will host three lectures on the Constitution this fall. All presentations will be in the Griswold Lecture Hall on Northwood University’s Midland campus located at 4000 Whiting Drive. There is no admission charge and members of the community are encouraged to attend.

On Tuesday, September 18, at 7 p.m., Dr. Jeff Morrison will deliver a lecture titled “The Constitutional Leadership of George Washington.” This lecture is part of Northwood’s celebration of Constitution Day. Morrison is associate dean and associate professor of government at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia and is a faculty member at the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation in Washington, D.C. He also taught at Princeton University and the United States Air Force Academy. Dr. Morrison graduated with distinction from Boston College and from Georgetown, where he received his Ph.D. He is author of The Political Philosophy of George Washington (Johns Hopkins University), John Witherspoon and the Founding of the American Republic (University of Notre Dame), and co-editor of The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life (Notre Dame) and The Founders on God and Government (Rowman & Littlefield).

On Tuesday, October 23, at 7 p.m., Dr. Chris Beneke will address the subject of “Religion, the Presidency, and the Constitution.” He will contrast the Constitution’s explicit rejection of a “religious test” for office with the unofficial test that Americans have used for candidates such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy and now candidates in the 2012 presidential election. Beneke is associate professor of history at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He graduated from Cornell and earned his Ph.D at Northwestern University. He is author of Beyond Toleration: The Religious Origins of American Pluralism (Oxford) and Free Exercise: The First Amendment and America’s Moderate Religious Revolution (forthcoming from Cornell) and co-editor of The First Prejudice: Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early America (Penn).

On Tuesday, November 27, at 7 p.m., Dr. Daniel Dreisbach will deliver a lecture titled “Jefferson's 'Wall of Separation' and the Constitution” Dr. Dreisbach is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. He received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia. He authored or edited eight books, including Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation between Church and State (New York University Press), Faith and the Founders of the American Republic (forthcoming from Oxford) and The Sacred Rights of Conscience (Liberty Fund). The U.S. Supreme Court has cited Dreisbach’s scholarship and he served as a consultant to the Library of Congress. He was a featured commentator in numerous documentaries, most recently the PBS series, “God in America.”  In 2006-07, he was the William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.

Professor Glenn Moots, chair of the philosophy and political science department at Northwood, directs the Forum and commented on the lecture series. “By law, educational institutions are supposed to devote at least one day to the Constitution. But the Constitution deserves more than that. Last year, we devoted a week. This year we decided to dedicate the semester’s lecture series to the Constitution and, in particular, its intersection with religion. Religion is the first freedom in America, according to the Bill of Rights, and something of great interest to Americans."

An informal survey of the top 100 colleges and universities (US News & World Report Ranking) conducted by the Jack Miller Center (JMC), located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, showed that only about half produced a substantive program on the Constitution in 2011. In partnership with leading colleges and universities, the Jack Miller Center launched its Constitution Day Initiative in 2011. Programs were held on 27 campuses and included leading historians, political scientists and legal scholars. Northwood was part of that pilot program. This year, 41 separate JMC-sponsored events at colleges and universities, including Northwood, will be held around the country, exploring the centrality of constitutionalism to understanding the American experience, past and present. Many of the nation’s top scholars from a variety of disciplines will participate in the programs.

“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. The long-term goal of the initiative is to bring back the critical study of American constitutionalism to the curriculum. We are very pleased to support the Forum directed by Professor Moots at Northwood University.”

Questions about the event may be directed to Professor Glenn A. Moots at 989.837.4255 or moots@northwood.edu.

ABOUT NORTHWOOD UNIVERSITY

Northwood University is committed to the most personal attention to prepare students for success in their careers and in their communities; it promotes critical thinking skills, personal effectiveness, and the importance of ethics, individual freedom and responsibility.

Private, nonprofit, and accredited, Northwood University specializes in managerial and entrepreneurial education at three full-service, residential campuses located in southern Florida, mid-Michigan and northern Texas. Adult Degree Programs are available in eight states with many course delivery options including an online option. The DeVos Graduate School offers day, evening and weekend programming in Michigan, Texas, Florida and Switzerland. The Alden B. Dow Center for Creativity and Enterprise in Midland, Michigan, specializes in creative thinking and innovation development. International education is offered through study abroad and in Program Centers in Switzerland, China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

ABOUT THE JACK MILLER CENTER

The Jack Miller Center (JMC) is a nonpartisan 501 (C) (3) public foundation dedicated to reinvigorating education in America’s Founding Principles and history. The foundation works with college faculty, administrators and donors to improve this essential education for students on campuses across the country. The JMC’s community of professors currently totals 550 on more than 180 campuses, including many of our nation’s leading scholars in American history and political theory. The JMC supports partner programs on 52 campuses, including Ivy League institutions, flagship state universities and leading liberal arts colleges. The JMC is led by its founder and chairman, Jack Miller, a prominent Chicago philanthropist, and its president, Mike Ratliff (Rear Admiral, USN ret.), the former chief of Naval Intelligence. Mr. Miller and Admiral Ratliff began their efforts in higher education in 2004 and incorporated the JMC as an independent foundation in 2007 with headquarters in Philadelphia.