Utah Valley University President Matthew S. Holland announced last week the creation of a Center for Constitutional Studies that will focus on supporting new academic opportunities in the area of timely national interest. The center will be funded through contributions by two anonymous sources totaling $1 million.
“This is a tremendous gift,” Holland said, “one of the largest we have received to advance a specific field of academic study.”
The contributions will cover funding for the center for the next five years. The center will give students a new minor degree program with studies in European and American constitutionalism, the American founding, constitutional government and design and constitutional liberties and rights.
Rick Griffin, an associate professor of history and political science at UVU has been selected as the center’s first director.
Griffin said the center will be a nonpartisan educational venture, regardless of political views. This will benefit the university’s intellect by engaging the students and the public, regionally, nationally and internationally.
“Because of the donors’ generous gifts,” Griffin said, “the Center has the potential to become an academic hub for constitutional studies.”
The center will seek to meet the academic needs of UVU students and members of the community who have interests in constitutional studies. The university is currently looking at space considerations for the long-term physical location of the center.
“Members of the community will be able to enroll in courses and to participate in activities that will deepen and broaden their understanding of important constitutional issues,” Griffin said.
Marc Archambault, vice president of development and alumni, said in a news release this is a textbook example of how donors and private funding can be a game changer for academic success for UVU students.
“During tough economic times and limited resources, friends and alumni of UVU can be a major force in helping the university succeed in its mission to provide quality higher education to students,” Archambault said.
The university will actively support the center in seeking additional private funding and national grants for continued support beyond 2016. For members of the community who are interested in contributing to UVU’s Center for Constitutional Studies, they can contact Rick Griffin, the center’s director.