Judge Stevens to speak at Lamar's Constitution Day event

Marilyn Tennissen Aug. 29, 2007, 12:58pm

Criminal District Court Judge John Stevens Jr. will be one of three featured speakers at the Lamar University event set to celebrate the U.S. Constitution.

In December 2004, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia added an amendment to Public Law 108-447, requiring all educational institutions that receive federal funds to provide an educational program on Sept. 17, commemorating the date that the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1787

Lamar University's Mary and John Gray Library will host the third annual Constitution Day program at 7 p.m. Sept. 17, in the University Reception Center, Spindletop Room, on the 8th floor.

Judge Stevens will speak on "The Intent of the Framers."

A Lamar University graduate, Stevens has had a distinguished career in the legal profession, including 20 years as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas. But in addition to the law, Stevens also has a passion for history.

A fan particularly of Texas history, Stevens has earned a reputation as a collector of Texana. In September 2006, Stevens presented Lamar University with first editions of "The Papers of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar" and other rare documents chronicling Lamar's namesake - the father of Texas education. The series is regarded as Lamar's most prominent work and leading publications archiving Texas history and the papers are part of the Mary and John Gray Library.

Stevens is a member of the Texas State Historical Association.

In addition to Stevens, other speakers for Constitution Day include Jeff Forret, assistant professor of history; and Mary Kelley, associate professor of history.

Forret will present the topic "The Electoral College: Why?" Forret joined Lamar's history department in 2005. In addition to the U.S. history surveys, Forret teaches courses on the Old South, slavery, colonial America, the early republic, antebellum America, race and sex in American history, and drinking, gambling, and violence in early America.

Kelley will present on the topic "Remember the Ladies: Women, Gender, and the Constitution." Kelley, who joined Lamar's history department in 2002, holds a Ph.D. from Texas Christian University, and master's and bachelor's degrees from Southwest Texas State University. Her teaching and research interests include Texas history, the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, women's history, and American social and reform movements.

Theresa Hefner-Babb, assistant professor and documents and reference services librarian, says each speaker will present topics related to the Constitution and invite questions from the audience.

The program is free and open to the public. The Mary and John Gray Library is the federal depository library serving the 2nd Texas U.S. Congressional District.

"Depository libraries provide free, unrestricted access to government information for everyone," Heffner-Babb said.

For more information, contact Heffner-Babb at (409) 880-2135.

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