CRN contact: Michael Rozansky | | 215.746.0202

Media contacts for specific events listed below

Constitution Day Celebrated with Coast-to-Coast Naturalizations, Classes Taking ‘Preamble Challenge,’ New Online Resource for Civics Education

Events in New York, Washington, Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA – This year Constitution Day, Wednesday, Sept. 17, and the 225th anniversary of the drafting of the Bill of Rights will be celebrated by an unusual variety of events spanning the nation, including naturalization ceremonies at iconic sites, students taking the “Preamble Challenge,” a panel in Washington examining the role of civics in American life, and the start-up of an online resource for civics education.

The events are part of a daylong program launching the Civics Renewal Network, a unique collaboration among 26 groups, including the National Archives, the U.S. Courts, the National Constitution Center, the Library of Congress, the Annenberg Public Policy Center, the Newseum, and others dedicated to elevating the importance of civics education.

“At a time when our country is divided by political and social issues, this day reminds us of the principles and ideas that bind us,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, home of the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics. “And it reinforces the need for civics education, in the belief that it is essential to create generations of informed, involved, and responsible citizens.”

In a first for the federal judiciary, 24 naturalization ceremonies will be held from Maine to Alaska on Sept. 17 and 18.

“Naturalization ceremonies are a living testament to both Citizenship Day and Constitution Day, as they represent the active efforts of immigrants to become educated about our governmental system, and having been so educated, to pledge allegiance to our country’s laws,” said Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. “These ceremonies remind us of our collective responsibility, as citizens, to promote civic education, so that our Constitution and government remain vital for generations to come.”

Constitution Day, Sept. 17 by city/time:


New York City – Thurgood Marshall U.S. Courthouse:

8 a.m.> – Naturalization ceremony for 100 new citizens in the historic courthouse where generations of immigrants, including George Balanchine, Alistair Cooke, W.H. Auden, I.M. Pei and Mikhail Baryshnikov, took the Oath of Allegiance. Presided over by Robert A. Katzmann, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the event will include the New York City Housing Authority Youth Chorus and students from the Harlem Educational Activities Fund reciting the Preamble. Address: 40 Foley Square, New York, N.Y. 10007. Court contact: Circuit Executive Karen Milton, 212-857-8555,

Philadelphia – National Constitution Center:


8:30 a.m. – Kickoff of the “Preamble Challenge,” in which students recite the 52- word Preamble to the Constitution, with a group recitation on the front lawn, near Independence Hall. A live stream can be seen at Tweet and Instagram your “Preamble Challenge:” #ConstitutionDay2014.

10:30 a.m. – Naturalization ceremony in Kirby Auditorium, presided over by U.S. District Court Judge John R. Padova with 54 applicants from 28 countries. NCC contact: Lauren Saul, 215-409-6895,

Washington, D.C. – National Archives and Records Administration:


10 a.m. – Naturalization ceremony in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Expected are 36 people to be naturalized by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, an Armed Forces Color Guard, and children from D.C. schools – Stuart-Hobson Middle School, Capitol Hill Cluster School, and the District of Columbia Public School – reciting the Preamble. The speaker will be chef and naturalized citizen José Andrés. Contacts: Miriam Kleiman and Laura Diachenko, 202-357-5300, and

Naturalization ceremonies coast to coast:


Naturalization ceremonies will be conducted by the U.S. Courts on Sept. 17-18 at 24 sites from Alaska to Maine, including Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park; the Alamo, in San Antonio; the Simon Estes Riverfront Amphitheater, in Des Moines, Iowa; the Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis, Ind.; Auburn University in Alabama; the Los Angeles Convention Center; and Landmark Center, in St. Paul, Minn. For a complete list, click here. U.S. Courts contact: Charles W. Hall, 202-502-2600,

B-roll of ceremonies from the courts will be available after 3 p.m. on Sept. 17. For a download link e-mail Michael Rozansky,

Washington, D.C. – Newseum, Knight Conference Center, 7th floor:


10:30 a.m. – News conference announcing the Civics Renewal Network, a partnership of 26 nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations dedicated to raising awareness of civics education and providing free, high-quality classroom materials through Address: 555 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. Please use Freedom Forum entrance on 6th Street, NW. CRN contact: Michael Rozansky, 215-746-0202, Newseum contact: Jonathan Thompson, 202-292-6353,

11 a.m. – American Academy of Arts & Sciences panel on “Stewarding America: Institutions and Civic Life,” with Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research; Stephen Heintz, president, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; Patricia Wald, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit; former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, of News Corp.; and former Rep. Mickey Edwards (R-OK), of the Aspen Institute. Academy contact: Felicia R. Knight, 207-831-5676,

12:30 p.m. – Keynote address by William “Bro” Adams, who was confirmed in July as the 10th chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Washington, D.C. – Various locations:


Nearly 50 students from across the U.S. who developed civics projects that benefited their home communities were selected by Civics Renewal Network partners to come to Washington, D.C., along with their teachers, for a day of civic engagement. The students will recite the Preamble at the Capitol, observe the naturalization ceremony at the National Archives, and meet with lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill.

Among the students: Alyssa Etheridge, 14, of Grant Pass, Ore., honored her state’s fallen soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars by creating the Bayard Wilkeson Project website. Kate Stoppiello, 17, a rising
senior at Jefferson Township High School in Oak Ridge, N.J., organized Project Stay Gold, which began in eighth-grade history class to educate other students about modern-day slavery and human
trafficking, and has become a nonprofit organization. Austin Yochus, 18, of Columbus, Ohio, who saw the need for better snow removal in his city, was part of a group at St. Francis DeSales High School that
successfully petitioned the mayor to contract for 25 more plows.

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, on Sept. 17, commemorate the signing of the Constitution in 1787. Since the passage of the Byrd Amendment in 2004, all educational institutions that receive federal funds are required to hold an educational program on the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17.

The Civics Renewal Network is an alliance of 26 organizations dedicated to raising the visibility of civics education and providing free, high-quality resources for teachers and classes. The partners include the American Bar Association, Annenberg Public Policy Center, the Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Constitution Center, National History Day, the NEH’s EDSITEment Project, the Newseum, Rock the Vote and the U.S. Courts. For the complete list:

Follow on Twitter: @CivicsRenewal.