NEH Chair James Leach keynotes MTSU Constitution W...

NEH Chair James Leach keynotes MTSU Constitution Week

MTSU will celebrate the U.S. Constitution and civility on Tuesday, Sept. 13, with help from a very special guest: James A. Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Leach, a former 15-term U.S. congressman from Iowa, will speak on “Civility, the Constitution and the Courts” at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Wright Music Building on the MTSU campus.

James A. Leach

His Centennial Constitution Day Distinguished Lecture, sponsored by MTSU’s American Democracy Project and the Distinguished Lecture Committee, is the keynote of MTSU’s Centennial Constitution Week, “Constitutional Responsibility and Civil Society,” Sept. 11-20.

Leach’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will include a brief question-and-answer session and will be followed by a public reception in MTSU’s Todd Gallery from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 13.

Leach took over the NEH chairmanship in August 2009. Before his nomination by President Barack Obama, Leach was a professor at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and served as interim director of the Institute of Politics and Lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. During his 30 years in Congress, Leach chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Sept. 13 at MTSU also features a panel discussion on “The Legacy of John Adams” at 11:20 a.m. in the James E. Walker Library, complementing the library’s current “John Adams: Unbound” exhibit. Funded by an NEH grant, the exhibit discusses the personal library of the United States’ second president.

Panelists will include Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College and a constitutional  law expert; Dr. Robb McDaniel, associate professor of political science; history professor Dr. Lynn Nelson; and Dr. Jim Williams, historian and director of the Albert Gore Research Center.

The University will celebrate Constitution Day Sept. 15 and 16 — the two days before the actual Sept. 17, 1787, signing date—from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday on the Keathley University Center Knoll.

Visitors will be able to print their own copy of the First Amendment to the Constitution on MTSU’s handcrafted replica of the 18th-century Franklin printing press at the Walker Library portico on Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a public reading of the Constitution will begin at 10 a.m. on Sept. 16.

For details about Constitution Week events at MTSU, visit or the American Democracy Project’s website at, or email