First Amendment topic of Constitution Day event at USD

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota will observe Constitution Day on Friday, Sept. 17 with a keynote address at the Al Neuharth Media Center from Gene Policinski, vice president and executive director of the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn.

Policinski is scheduled to present the program, “The First Amendment in the 21st Century” at noon on Sept. 17. The event is free and open to the public, and attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch as the event is a “brown bag lunch program.” Beverages will be provided courtesy of the Freedom Forum.

A veteran journalist whose career has included work in newspapers, radio, television and online operations, Policinski oversees operations and programs of the First Amendment Center, which has offices at Vanderbilt University and in Washington, D.C. He is co-author of the weekly syndicated newspaper column, “Inside the First Amendment,” and executive producer/host of the touring multimedia stage production, “Freedom Sings.” Policinski came to the Freedom Forum in 1996 from USA Today, where he was one of several founding editors and held various news executive positions. He began his journalism career in 1969 in Indiana, where he worked as a newspaper reporter and later as state bureau chief for Gannett News Service. A native of South Bend, Ind., he is a graduate of Ball State University and attended the Nashville School of Law.

Presented at USD by the School of Law and the Freedom Forum, Constitution Day was established by Congress in 2004 to recognize the ratification of the United States Constitution. All colleges and universities that receive federal funding are required to host an educational event about the Constitution. For more information about the Constitution Day program, please contact the USD School of Law at (605) 677-5443 or e-mail