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W&L Hosts Constitution Day Panel The panel’s reenactment is titled “Reliving the Constitutional Convention."

DSC8589-1140x760 W&L Hosts Constitution Day PanelLilly Gillespie ’22 as Benjamin Franklin.

Washington and Lee University will host a Constitution Day panel on Sept. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater titled “Reliving the Constitutional Convention.” The event is free and open to the public.

Lynn Uzzell, visiting assistant professor of American politics, and four W&L students will represent the pivotal delegates at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The four-student convention includes Katlin Cooper ’22 as James Madison; Lilly Gillespie ’22 as Benjamin Franklin; Dennis Hull ’22 as Charles Pinckney and Brandon Konlian ’24 as James Wilson. All convention members will be in character and costume for the event.

Uzzell will interview the delegates to highlight key debates from the historic 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. After the interviews, the floor will be open for questions from the audience.

This exercise is something Uzzell employs in her classroom as well. For Winter Term 2021, Uzzell gamified her course, Creating the U.S. Constitution, producing a convention reenactment of sorts, which began in earnest during the second half of the class.

In the game, each student performed the role of an influential figure from the historical event and the class assembled its own 1787 convention. Students constructed a U.S. Constitution through persuasion, compromise, private deals and parliamentary procedure. By the end of the term, the students voted on a constitution of their own creation. The game is part of the “Reacting to the Past” series that originated at Barnard College and has now spread to more than 400 college campuses worldwide.

Constitution Day is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is normally observed on Sept. 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia.