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Lamar University/LIT host Constitution Day Sept. 17

Lamar University and the Lamar Institute of Technology will host the eighth annual Constitution Day event Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Lamar Institute of Technology Multi-Purpose Center Auditorium. This year’s event will feature speaker Michael Truncale, a Lamar alumnus, partner at the Orgain Bell & Tucker law firm and former Texas State University System regent. Truncale’s lecture, “Is Our Constitution Still Valid in the Modern Age?” will explore whether the American Constitution is fulfilling our Founding Fathers’ vision.  The lecture is free and open to the community.

Truncale will explore the question of whether the United States Constitution is still relevant in our modern society.  Does the document, written so many centuries ago, still provide citizens an equal opportunity to experience life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  Given other forms of government available throughout the world, can we still look to the Constitution to provide justice and equality for all?

“In answering these questions, I conclude that our Constitution was inspired by the greatest thoughts of over 2,000 years of western civilization,” Truncale said.  “The Constitution provides the bulwark of the freedoms essential to a free enterprise system—an economic system that is our greatest hope to eliminate poverty and to provide opportunities for all.”

Theresa Storey Hefner-Babb, associate professor and instruction coordinator at the Mary and John Gray Library, said the Constitution Day event is a federally mandated program intended to better familiarize communities with the documents the nation is built upon.

“Young people today don’t realize how much the Constitution impacts their lives. Especially in this politically charged atmosphere we have now and some of the things that have transpired this year, such as sequestration and immigration legislation,” Hefner-Babb said.

Truncale was appointed by Sen. John Cornyn and Sen. Ted Cruz to the Federal Judicial Selection Committee.  This committee interviews applicants for appointments to the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. District Courts throughout Texas, and United States Attorneys in each of the four districts in Texas.  He was appointed previously to this committee by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.  He also chaired the Federal Magistrate Selection Committee for the federal courts in the Eastern District of Texas.  Truncale was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry to be a Regent for The Texas State University System, which is the third largest system of higher education in Texas. He also represents Jefferson, Galveston, Chambers, Montgomery (The Woodlands), and Northeast Harris (Houston) Counties on the State Republican Executive Committee.

“Some speech classes require students to listen and critique a speaker at an event,” Hefner-Babb said. “We are encouraging teachers to mention it in their classes and try to tie some sort of incentive for students to attend. If they can tie it to an assignment, then that is even better.”

The event is informal. The lecture will last about 30 minutes with time for questions to follow. Refreshments will be available after the lecture.