UVU Creates Center For Constitutional Studies Thanks To Donors’ Gifts
September 19, 2011
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Culminating a week’s worth of U.S. Constitution relation events on campus and in honor of Constitution Day, UVU President Matthew S. Holland today announced the creation of a Center for Constitutional Studies that will focus on supporting new, robust academic opportunities for student learning in an area of timely national interest.
The initial 5-year launch of the center is made possible by generous contributions totaling $1 million from two successful Utah business leaders who wish to remain anonymous rather than receive public recognition for their gifts.
“This is a tremendous gift, one of the largest we have received to advance a specific field of academic study,” said President Holland. “Constitutional studies are of paramount interest and value as the country and the global community continues to grapple with political and economic challenges related to our constitutional order. This center will be the first of its kind in the Intermountain western U.S.”
Ian Wilson, vice president of academic affairs, said the center will employ a director and an administrator while remaining an academic hub of constitutional studies for faculty, staff and student participants from departments on campus. He said the University is currently working through the space considerations for the long-term physical location of the center that will include rooms and offices.
Through the center, students will have access to myriad resources and materials and the presentation of programming in the form of guest lecturers, academic conferences and internships. These will include a multi-disciplinary constitutional studies minor degree program with emphases in the European and Colonial foundations of American constitutionalism, the American founding, constitutional government and design, and constitutional liberties and rights.
Rick Griffin, J.D., Ph.D., LL.M., an associate professor of history and political science at UVU who has an extensive academic background in constitutional studies including advanced graduate studies and research in constitutional law, constitutional aspects of education, civil rights, judicial politics, constitutional and legal history and constitutional design, has been selected as the center’s director.
“The center will benefit the University’s intellectual life by engaging the students, the public and regionally, nationally and internationally recognized scholars,” Griffin said.
The University will actively support the center in seeking additional private funding and national grants for continued support beyond 2016.
“The Center for Constitutional Studies is a textbook example of how donors and private funding sources can be a game changer for UVU in terms of significantly contributing to the academic success of our students,” said Marc Archambault, vice president of development and alumni. “During tough economic times and limited resources, friends and alumni of UVU can be a major force in helping the University succeed in its mission to provide a quality higher education to students.”
Last week, UVU students participated in a weeklong commemoration of the U.S. constitution that included a variety of events including a keynote address by Harry N. Scheiber, Stefan A. Riesenfeld professor of law and history and the University of California-Berkley, an essay contest, and opportunities to learn more about the historic document and its framers.
Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah, and is home to nearly 33,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community college, state college and, finally, a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education.