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Pepperdine | School of Public Policy

The Place of the Constitution in the Education of Citizens

Stack of books in a library

Event Details

Thursday, March 17, 2022
12:00 PM PST

Drescher Graduate Campus
Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA

Please note, registration is required to attend this event. 

For more information about this event, please email sppevents@pepperdine.edu, or call 310.506.7490.

While acknowledged as one of the world's great governing documents, the US Constitution is also a work of political philosophy, outlining the role engaged citizens must play in sustaining liberty. More than a government framework, the Constitution should be considered a vital foundation for civics education. 

As we continue through our 25th anniversary year, the School of Public Policy is delighted to welcome noted historian, and former Reagan Professor at SPP (2019-2020), Dr. Bill McClay, back to campus to offer our 2022 Charles & Rosemary Licata Lecture. As McClay proposes, "Our Constitution is not merely our fundamental law. It is the chief and most durable symbol of our national unity and our commitment to one another as one nation."

In this talk, McClay will both help us think differently about the Constitution, but also about the role of civics education in bringing together a diverse nation - to provide the "unum" for our "pluribus." On this point, McClay adds, "Civic education involves far more than learning the mechanics of citizenship. It should promote a vivid and enduring sense of our belonging to one of the greatest enterprises in human history."

The Charles and Rosemary Licata Lecture Series was established through an endowment for the School of Public Policy by benefactors Charles and Rosemary Licata, the Licata Lecture Series unites students, alumni, and community leaders with leading academics and practitioners shaping policy matters in the new century.

About the Speaker

Wilfred Bill McClay

Wilfred M. McClay holds the Victor Davis Hanson Chair in Classical History and Western Civilization at Hillsdale College. Before coming to Hillsdale in the fall of 2021, he was the G.T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty at the University of Oklahoma, and the director of the Center for the History of Liberty. McClay has twice served as a visiting professor here at the School of Public Policy (Reagan Professor, 2019-2020 and Simon Distinguished Professor, 2009-2010). His book, The Masterless: Self and Society in Modern America, received the 1995 Merle Curti Award of the Organization of American Historians for the best book in American intellectual history. Among his other books is The Student’s Guide to U.S. History, Religion Returns to the Public Square: Faith and Policy in America, Figures in the Carpet: Finding the Human Person in the American Past, Why Place Matters: Geography, Identity, and Public Life in Modern America, and Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story. He served for 11 years on the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board for the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is currently is a member of the US Commission on the Semiquincentennial, which has been charged with planning the celebration of the nation’s 250th birthday in 2026. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Academy of Education, and served as a Fulbright Senior Lecturer in American History at the University of Rome. He is a graduate of St. John’s College (Annapolis) and received his PhD in history from Johns Hopkins University.

Note to SPP students: This event is 1.5 Professional Development credits.