SC State celebrates 220th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution

Thursday, September 13, 2007

SC State celebrates 220th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution, Sept. 17ORANGEBURG – SC State University will celebrate the 220th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States of America at its Third Annual Constitution Day celebration.

The Constitution Day Program, sponsored by SC State’s Department of Social Sciences and Office of Financial Aid, will be held on Monday, Sept. 17, at 1 p.m. in the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium. The keynote address will be delivered by John L.S. Simpkins of the Charleston School of Law. The event is free and the public is invited to attend. For additional information, contact Dr. Larry Watson at (803) 536-8969 or dwatso17@scsu.edu or Lillian L. Sims at (803) 536-8221 or lsims@scsu.edu.

On September 17, 1787, delegates from 12 of the original 13 states, assembled in Philadelphia, Penn., and adopted the Constitution of the United States of America. This document outlined the basic structure of government for the newly independent United States. Since its adoption, the Constitution has undergone many changes and amendments. However, it remains one of the most analyzed and modeled documents in human history. In spite of its relevance and application worldwide, many American citizens lack an adequate understanding and appreciation of it.

A provision in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2005 is aimed at addressing this concern. The provision requires that each educational institution that receives federal funds hold an educational program on the U.S. Constitution for its students. This year marks the third official celebration of Constitution Day at SC State.

The keynote speaker, John L.S. Simpkins, is assistant professor of law and director of diversity initiatives at the Charleston (S.C.) School of Law. He has been an observer or served as a consultant in constitution-building processes in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. He currently serves as a member of the African Network of the International Association of Constitutional Law, as well as the American Bar Association Task Force on International Electoral Standards.

Simpkins is co-founder of the Center for a Better South and is a senior associate at the Richard W. Riley Institute of Government, Politics and Public Leadership at Furman University. He also serves as a political analyst with WYFF TV-4 in Greenville and WCBD TV-2 in Charleston. He has published essays on South Africa, Southern politics and African-American culture in the New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, The State Newspaper and The Oxford American.

Simpkins serves as a board member of the Center for Heirs Property Preservation, Trident United Way, S.C. Aquarium, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry and the Lowcountry Housing Trust. He also is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Simpkins received an A.B. in government from Harvard College and a J.D. and LL.M. in international and comparative law from Duke University School of Law.