After 10 years of preparation, UVU fittingly opened the Center for Constitutional Studies on the third floor of the library on Constitution Day, Monday, Sept. 17. The center’s opening ceremonies were attended by Matthew Holland, founding director Dr. Rick Griffin and keynote speaker David McCullough, author of “John Adams.”
Griffin, director of the center, spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony about how long this project has been in the works. He said the school began offering courses focused on the Constitution 10 years ago. Now, UVU has its own center, which will be used for both student and community study of the Constitution.
When asked what he liked best about the new center, Griffin said, “Working with the young people. Giving them the opportunity to work with primary sources and seeing even more student success.” He went on to showcase a few of his former students and explained that many of them were in graduate programs across the country.
Griffin had Skyler Johns, student coordinator of the center, and Marin Reynolds, a student ambassador, speak at the ribbon-cutting about the education they have received.
“With Dr. Griffin’s teaching methods, we learn how to discuss very passionate topics with knowledge and decorum,” Johns said.
President Holland also spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony and explained how McCullough’s work has impacted his own career at UVU. When deciding what type of university UVU would eventually become, Holland spoke of McCullough’s book about the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.
When architects began building the bridge, most people believed a bridge had to be short and narrow to hold many people. The builders of the Brooklyn Bridge had more vision, Holland said, and they were able to come up with a design to make a bridge longer and wider that could be stable.
He compared that understanding to how he views UVU. Holland said countless people believe you can’t have a huge quantity of students and maintain educational quality. McCullough’s story inspired Holland to show it is possible for UVU to provide quality education to a large student population.
Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough, who spoke at the keynote address held at the UCCU Center, discussed the importance of learning about the Constitution. He said the new center sets a prime example for other universities around the nation.
“We are raising a generation that is historically illiterate and have a very sketchy, thin knowledge of the system on which our entire civilization is based. It is regrettable and dangerous,” McCullough said.
The entire day was a showcase of UVU and its programs. The UVU Octet and Orchestra performed throughout the day. Many members of UVUSA were in attendance, including Danny Diaz, chief justice of UVUSA.
“My favorite part is peoples’ reaction when I tell them David McCullough is coming to speak. I tell them what he wrote, and they get so excited,” Diaz said.