University of Dallas Continues Constitution Day Tradition
Date Published: Sept. 21, 2016
On the evening of Sunday, Sept. 18, the University of Dallas Politics Department hosted its annual Constitution Day celebration in upstairs Haggar.
UD's first Constitution Day celebration was organized 41 years ago after a student
remarked to Professor of Politics Leo Paul de Alvarez about the lack of opportunities
for students to sing patriotic hymns.
“We decided to make an occasion which could be a part of our education in the American
political tradition,” said de Alvarez several years ago during Constitution Day.
UD’s Constitution Day tradition began well before U.S. Congress’s 2004 law, which
required publicly funded schools to celebrate the national holiday. Since the initial
idea, UD's Constitution Day has become an enthusiastically anticipated annual event
on campus — during which students, professors and families congregate to celebrate.
This longstanding tradition promotes an understanding of American heritage and of
The Constitution of the United States has remained the oldest written constitution
in unbroken effect since its ratification. Though this 41-year-old celebration is
significantly younger in comparison to our Constitution’s 229 years of being, UD’s
Constitution Day tradition has continued to uphold the ideals of the American founding.
This year’s celebration began with a brief address from Department Chair and Professor
of Politics Richard Dougherty, Ph.D., who outlined the yearly tradition from its inception
at UD over 40 years ago to our present day. Dougherty noted that many alumni have
begun similar celebrations around the country after departing from UD.
“[Constitution Day] is the event of the year. It really is,” said Dougherty, according
to The University News. “It’s early in the year, so it brings people together early on. It’s a joyful event.”
Following Dougherty’s words, the assembled crowd recited the Pledge of Allegiance
and, accompanied by piano and drums, sang “God Bless America” and “The Star-Spangled
After food was served, Director of International Studies and Associate Professor of
Politics Jonathan Culp, Ph.D., gave an address, titled “What Does 2016 Have to Do
with 1787?” This was Culp’s eighth UD Constitution Day, and it was his first time
to speak at the celebration.
With Election Day looming, Culp’s emphasized why the first principles of our founding
are still of great importance today.