UND is set to hold a number of on-campus events in celebration of Constitution Day: Sunday, Sept. 17.
Constitution Day, also known as Citizenship Day, commemorates the Sept. 17, 1787, signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia. The celebration also recognizes those who have become naturalized U.S. citizens. The 2004 law establishing the combined holiday was part of a congressional bill mandating that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.
On Friday, Sept. 15, at 10 a.m., U.S. Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal of the U.S. District Court for North Dakota will preside over a special naturalization ceremony on campus. During the ceremony, 41 citizenship candidates from 20 countries will take the Oath of Allegiance to become new United States citizens.
The Naturalization Ceremony will be held in the Gorecki Alumni Center on the UND campus. All students, faculty, staff and members of the Grand Forks community are invited to attend this inspirational ceremony.
A similar ceremony was presented last year in connection with Constitution Day; it came about thanks to a request from UND President Andy Armacost. “Holding a Naturalization Ceremony in the Gorecki Alumni Center is the perfect way to celebrate Constitution Day,” Armacost said at the time.
The 2022 event marked the first Naturalization Ceremony to be held on the UND campus in several years.
“It’s raining outside,” said Peter Welte, chief judge of the U.S. District Court of North Dakota, to the 38 new citizens who took the Oath of Citizenship at the Gorecki Alumni Center during the ceremony last year.
“But the sun is shining in here today,” Welte continued.
“By virtue of my post as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota, I receive the privilege of participating in several ceremonies. There is none — none — that is a greater privilege than being permitted to administer the Oath of Citizenship to this great country.
“To all 38 of you from 11 different countries, thank you. It’s an honor for which I’m humbled,” Welte said.
Federalist Society event
In further recognition of Constitution Day, the Federalist Society at the UND School of Law will be hosting a guest speaker, Professor Lee J. Strang, at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Strang will speak on the topic, “Does the 14th Amendment support the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Affirmative Action?” His talk will be delivered in Room 8 at the School of Law.
Strang is the John W. Stoepler Professor of Law & Values at the University of Toledo College of Law in Toledo, Ohio. He earned his law degree at the University of Iowa and also holds a master of laws degree from Harvard Law School.
In 2016, Strang was appointed to the Ohio Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and appointed chair in 2022. During the 2018-2019 academic year, he was a visiting fellow at the James Madison Program at Princeton University. A former visiting scholar at the Georgetown Center for the Constitution, Strang has been named to the advisory council of the Center for Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. The council also includes Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito and scholars from Oxford and Notre Dame.
Prior to teaching, Strang served as a judicial clerk for Judge Alice M. Batchelder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. His most recent book, “Originalism’s Promise: A Natural Law Account of the American Constitution” (Cambridge University Press, 2019), is the first natural law justification for originalism.
The Chester Fritz Library and Thormodsgard Law Library also will help UND celebrate Constitution Day.
On Sept. 15 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Memorial Union’s first floor, librarians will be quizzing on constitutional knowledge and handing out prizes. Members of the UND community are invited to come test their luck and their knowledge of our founding documents by answering questions. Free U.S. Constitutions will be given out to all!