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Our Programs

The Center for Civics Education has facilitated a variety of programs and events through the history of Concordia.  Check out some of our previous events!

  1. photo from the June 2016 event

    Primary Election Analysis and Discussion

    June 9, 2016

    The Center for Public Policy hosted a post-primary election analysis and discussion featuring Henry Vandermier, Chairman of the Democratic Party of Orange County, and Fred Whitaker, Chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County. In a lively but civil and friendly exchange, the two political leaders disagreed, and at times, even agreed on what the results portend for the November general elections. Both are members of the Center’s Advisory Board. Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham, the Center’s new Director, moderated the discussion.


     
    flyer for the Orange Count Pastors Gathering

    Orange County Pastors Gathering

    October 6, 2016

    The Center for Public Policy co-sponsored with the Lincoln Club of Orange County, Biola University, Azusa Pacific University and Trinity Law School a meeting for pastors and education leaders to consider the impacts of SB 1146 on faith-based schools and colleges. The bill is intended to restrict faith-based colleges and schools from discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. It could result in the loss of public funding of faith-based institutions and their students.

    Among those participating were Assemblywoman Young Kim and Brad Dacus, President of the Pacific Justice Institute. The program was moderated by Myron Steeves, Professor of Constitutional Law at Trinity Law School.


     
    veterans at the Remembering December 7 event

    Remembering December 7

    October 26, 2016

    John Gates, President of the Orange County Navy League and member of the Center for Public Policy Advisory Board, led a team to honor veteran survivors of the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that prompted the United States to officially enter World War II. The Center made small contributions to the event by providing a rare, original World War II poster powerfully memorializing the attack and arranging for the invocation to recall the sacred work of the military chaplains who were charged with notifying families, setting up medical aid facilities, assisting in identifying the dead, and officiating at more than 2400 funerals. Because many casualties were unidentified and their individual faiths were unknown, their funerals were conducted by inter-faith teams of a Protestant Chaplain, a Catholic Chaplain and a Jewish Chaplain, working together to read Scripture, pray and honor those who had died in service to their country.

    To view excerpts of the program, click here.


     
    Preserving Religious Freedom

    Preserving Religious Freedom

    October 28, 2016

    In collaboration with State Senator John Moorlach and his District Director, Scott Carpenter, the Center for Public Policy co-sponsored a Private University Roundtable to address threats to public funding for students at faith-based educational institutions and other religious freedoms. Concordia University Irvine’s President, Kurt Krueger, welcomed the attendees and opened with an invocation, followed by Senator Moorlach who described the acceleration of trends challenging religious freedom and Pepperdine’s Pete Peterson who offered practical responses those challenges and the importance of civic engagement.

    Among those attending the event were Dr. Barry Corey, President of Biola University; Ronald Ellis, President of California Baptist University; Dr. Richard Kriegbaum, President of Fresno Pacific University; Paul Ague, President of San Diego Christian College; Dr. Michael Beals, President of Vanguard University; and others.


     
    Concordia honors fallen alumnus

    Concordia Honors Fallen Alumnus

    November 10, 2016

    On November 10, 2016, Concordia University Irvine renamed its Veterans Resource Center as the U. S. Staff Sgt. Matthew Thompson Veterans Resource Center in honor of its fallen Concordia alumnus, Staff Sgt. Thompson, killed in Afghanistan on August 23, 2016 due to injuries sustained by an explosive device that detonated near his patrol while conducting operations. The dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony were attended by members of Staff Sgt. Thompson’s family, members of the Concordia family, elected officials and others.

    The Director of Concordia’s Center for Public Policy assisted the event by securing the attendance of a number of elected officials, including Congresswoman Mimi Walters, who presented a certificate to Concordia President Kurt Krueger and spoke at the event.

    KABC news’ coverage can be viewed here.


     
    Noted Journalist Eleanor Clift Visits Concordia

    Noted Journalist Eleanor Clift Visits Concordia

    November 16, 2016

    Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham, Director of the Center for Public Policy, arranged for Eleanor Clift, popular nationally acclaimed news columnist and political pundit, to participate in the Center’s Advisory Board meeting, a roundtable for senior Concordia administrators and staff, and later in the day as the featured speaker at the Orange County Forum, where she was interviewed by the Center’s Director, Jo Ellen Chatham. Clift addressed a variety of current public policy issues, her career as a journalist and commentator, and the topics of several books authored during her long and noted career.

    We appreciate David Loy, Peter Senkbeil and the Council of Independent Colleges for helping to facilitate the university’s participation.


     
    Center Sponsors State of County

    Center Sponsors “State of the County”

    November 29, 2016

    On November 29, 2016 the Center sponsored the “State of the County” lunch, an annual event initiated by Keith Curry, founder of CUI’s Center for Public Policy. Before a large audience of community leaders, Lisa Bartlett, Chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, presented an overview of issues facing the County and how the Board was addressing them. The engaged audience filled the ballroom at the Irvine Marriott Hotel and offered perceptive questions and comments in response the Chairwoman’s comments on regional mobility, homelessness and other important issues.

  2. National Market Study Offers Recommendations for Concordia

    National Market Study Offers Recommendations for Concordia

    March, 2017

    With support and cooperation from George Wright and the School of Business, the Center initiated a national market survey to assess the demand for an academic program in public affairs. Performed by Hanover Research, the study was received this month and reported findings on student market demand, overall market demand, and the competitive marketplace. Key findings included: 1) Concordia’s proposed program would best meet student demand as a post-bachelor’s certificate or master’s-level program; 2) Individuals with a degree in public affairs are likely to find a favorable employment landscape; 3) Data point to the need for increased and directed education and training among public affairs professionals; 4) Programs face competition from public policy and administration programs; and 5) Concordia can differentiate itself by offering online program options and unique concentration opportunities.

    The report will be followed by two focus groups of Orange County public affairs professionals with various levels of experience, scheduled for June 23 and July 7.


     
    Preparing to Counter Threats to Religious Freedom

    Preparing To Counter Threats To Religious Freedom

    March 30, 2017

    The Center’s Director, Jo Ellen Chatham, represented Concordia University Irvine at “Fairness for All,” an all-day strategic meeting of representatives from a range of private and faith-based colleges and universities, to consider challenges to free expression and free exercise of religious beliefs and practices and how to respond to them. Convened at Life Pacific College in San Dimas, the conversation included impacts of SB 4611 as well as other state and federal legislation.


     
    Concordia's Entrepreneur Academy

    Concordia’s Entrepreneur Academy

    July 25, 2017

    Center Director, Jo Ellen Chatham, participated as a team judge and coach during Concordia University Irvine’s annual summer Teen Entrepreneur Academy  developed and organized by School of Business Dean Steve Christiansen. The program is a hands-on, one-week residential program designed to teach high school students best business practices, principles of free enterprise, teamwork and how to start and launch their own businesses. Each student team develops a written business plan and gives an oral presentation on the last day of competition when winning teams are selected and receives monetary rewards.


     
    Concordia President Participates in Orange Country Forum Roundtable

    Concordia President Participates in Orange County Forum Roundtable

    September 20, 2017

    Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham, Director of the Center for Public Policy and Board Member of the Orange County Forum, led the team organizing a program to consider “Competition and Innovation at OC’s Private Universities.” Kurt Kruger, Concordia’s President, was joined by Daniele Struppa, President of Chapman University, and Gary Brahm, Chancellor of Brandman University. To view the program, visit ocforum.org/videos.


     
    History-making Lutherans: Cap. Henry Gerecke

    History-making Lutherans: Cap. Henry Gerecke

    September 26, 2017

    As part of Concordia University Irvine’s commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolution, the Center for Public Policy organized a lecture series focusing on “Heroes of the Faith.” Each lecture was presented by a CUI faculty member and focused on a significant Lutheran who had made important contributions in his field of endeavor. The first lecture was delivered by the Center’s Director, Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham, who related the story of Army Chaplain Capt. Henry Gerecke, an American Lutheran pastor who was sent to Nuremburg to minister to imprisoned Nazi leaders on trial for crimes against humanity.

    An interview with Gerecke recorded in 1952 can be viewed at Nuremberg Trial Radio (1946) Rev. Henry Gerecke on executions - Bing video.


     
    History-making Lutherans: Johann Sebastian Bach

    History-making Lutherans: Johann Sebastian Bach

    October 11, 2017

    As part of Concordia University Irvine’s commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolution, the Center for Public Policy organized a lecture series focusing on “Heroes of the Faith.” Each lecture was presented by a CUI faculty member and focused on a significant Lutheran who had made important contributions in his field of endeavor. The second lecture was delivered by Jeff Held, Director of Orchestral Activities and Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. His topic was “The Fifth Evangelist: Why Bach Move Us,” delving into the music and spirituality of German composer and musician Johann Sebastian Bach of the late Baroque period. You can listen to “The Best of Bach” on YouTube .


     
    History-making Lutherans: Johannes Kepler

    History-making Lutherans: Johannes Kepler

    October 24, 2017

    As part of Concordia University Irvine’s commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolution, the Center for Public Policy organized a lecture series focusing on “Heroes of the Faith.” Each lecture was presented by a CUI faculty member and focused on a significant Lutheran who had made important contributions in his field of endeavor. The third lecture focused on the scientific work of Johannes Kepler, a key figure in the scientific revolution blossoming in the 17th century. Presented by John Kenny, Professor of Chemistry, “Star in the Wittenberg Orbit of Astrology, Chicken and Super-Surfer on the Waves of the Reformation” explored Kepler’s faith and his scientific achievements, including his laws of planetary motion.

    A short biography of Kepler, the Father of Astronomy, can been found here.


     
    History-making Lutherans: Frederick Muhlenberg

    History-making Lutherans: Frederick Muhlenberg

    November 15, 2017

    Concordia University Irvine’s commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolution, the Center for Public Policy organized a lecture series focusing on “Heroes of the Faith.” Each lecture was presented by a CUI faculty member and focused on a significant Lutheran who had made important contributions in his field of endeavor. Russell Dawn, Professor of History and Political Thought,” shared the faith and public service Frederick Muhlenberg, “An American Original and First to Sign the US Bill of Rights.” Muhlenberg was elected to the First Congress under the Constitution and was elected as its First Speaker. It was in that capacity that his signature was the first to be placed on the proposed Constitutional amendments that became the Bill of Rights. He shared his vocation as a Lutheran pastor with his two brothers who also made notable contributions in public service

    To learn more about the Muhlenberg family, consider reading The Muhlenbergs of Pennsylvania by Paula A. Wallace.


     
    History-making Lutherans: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    History-making Lutherans: Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    December 5, 2017

    Concordia University Irvine’s commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Revolution, the Center for Public Policy organized a lecture series focusing on “Heroes of the Faith.” Each lecture was presented by a CUI faculty member and focused on a significant Lutheran who had made important contributions in his field of endeavor. The fifth and final lecture, “The Cost of Discipleship: Theologian, Pastor, Spy, Anti-Nazi, Dissident and Martyr,” focused on the life, writings and sacrifice of Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” was presented by Joel Oesch, Professor of Theology. As a founder of the “Confessing Church,” Bonhoeffer’s writings were influential in both the Christian and secular worlds. As a public and vocal opponent of the Nazi regime, he was hanged during the last days of the Nazi regime.

    The Cost of Discipleship is among the most significant of Bonhoeffer’s writings and well worth reading.

  3. portrait of Thomas Jefferson

    Jeffersonian Dinner

    January 23, 2018

    The Center for Public Policy hosted a “Jeffersonian Dinner” at the Pacific Club to inquire of a diverse group of Orange County leaders their thoughts and opinions about the twin problems of the low levels of civic literacy and civil discourse throughout the nation. Modeled on numerous historic dinners hosted by Thomas Jefferson, the gathering of fourteen included the chairmen of both the Orange County Republican and Democratic parties; the President of the Orange County Business Council; the President of the Orange County School Boards Association; the General Manager of the Orange County Employees Union; a representative from the California Policy Center and the Orange County Democratic Foundation; a former reporter from “Excelsior,” the Orange County Register’s Spanish language edition; a member of the Center’s Advisory Board; the Center’s Director; the President of the Black Chamber of Commerce and several others.

    The broad diversity of thought and opinion was essential to defining the nature of the issues under discussion, the importance of those issues to a thriving and viable republican form of government, and consideration of action and activities that might be introduced to improve civic literacy and civil public discourse in our Orange County community. The conversation was robust and resulted in a significant degree of consensus regarding not only the importance of the issues but on creative ideas to address them in our community.

    Thank you to John Gates, member of the Center’s Advisory Board, for arranging for our dinner to be held at the Pacific Club.

    And…if you are interested in what it was like to have dinner at Monticello, Jefferson’s home, take a look at “Taste of History” on YouTube.


     
    The Zhangs

    Asian-American Roundtable

    June 14, 2018

    To assist in introducing Concordia University Irvine to Asian-American leaders, the Center arranged for an Asian-American Roundtable which included Concordia's President Kurt Krueger, Provost Peter Senkbeil, and other Concordia administrators. Among leaders of the Asian-American community were Charlie and Ling Zhang, founders of Zion Enterprises; Carol Choi, United Exchange Corporation; Sheng Jiang, Irvine Music Festival; Esther Koh; Anthony Kuo, Irvine Planning Commission; Van Tran, international business attorney and former State Assemblyman; and others.


     
    Ellis Island Medalists Share Its Meaning

    Ellis Island Medalists Share Its Meaning

    June 27, 2018

    The Center’s Director, Jo Ellen Chatham, arranged for a panel discussion for the Pacific Club’s Distinguished Speakers’ Series featuring three recipients of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Awarded to individuals “whose work has made a lasting impact on humanity, recognizes the combined professional achievements and humanitarian work of U. S. citizens, both native born and naturalized.” Since its creation in 1986, the award has been given to seven U.S. Presidents and a number of Orange Countians, including Jim Doti, Gaddi Vasquez, Hazem Chehabi, Henry Segerstrom, and others. The panel shared their experiences as community, business and philanthropic leaders as well as their response to having been awarded the Medal and its meaning to them.

    The panel included Charlie Zhang, founder of Pick-up-Stix and philanthropist; Sir Bruno Serato, the Anaheim White House restaurant and philanthropist; Mary-Christine Sungaila, appellate attorney with Haynes and Boone, LLP; and panel moderator, Jo Ellen Chatham, also a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

  4. The Story of Sgt. Reckless Shared at the Pacific Club

    The Story of Sgt. Reckless Shared at the Pacific Club

    February 6, 2019

    Director, Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham, arranged for Robin Hutton to participate in the Pacific Club’s Speaker Series on her book “Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse,” the fascinating story of a Mongolian mare who was more than a “war horse.” Due to her heroism and bravery, even under heavy fire during the Korean Conflict, she was actually inducted into the Marine Corps and officially promoted to sergeant, an honor never bestowed, before or since, on an animal. She retired from military service at Camp Pendleton in Southern California and died there in 1968. Monuments recognizing Sgt. Reckless have been erected at Camp Pendleton and the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia.

    For one of the “better reads,” read the New York Times Bestseller Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse by Robin Hutton.


     
    Remembering D-Day: Two Holocaust Survivors

    Remembering D-Day: Two Holocaust Survivors

    March 30, 2019

    Under the direction of Concordia’s Professor of Music Jeff Held, the Concordia Wind Ensemble performed with musicians from across America to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6 at Normandy, France. Designated the D-Day Memorial Wind Band, the combined musicians were conducted by 94-year-old Col. Arnald Gabriel, a 36-year Armed Forces World War II combat veteran who became one of the most accomplished military band conductors in U.S. History.

    Prior to the Concordia Wind Ensemble’s trip to Europe, the Concordia Wind Ensemble performed several concerts in Orange County. Including a performance at Zion Lutheran Church in Anaheim. A pre-concert conversation, led by the Center’s Director, Jo Ellen Chatham, featured Ildiko Good and Jack Pariser, survivors of the Holocaust which killed six million Jews, approximately two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe. Their riveting and emotional stories reminded the audience not only of the atrocities committed by Nazis, but why remembrance is essential to assuring that they will never be repeated. The discussion also served as a reminder of the role the United States play in the defeat and destruction of the Nazi regime.

    Although these interviews were not recorded in 2019, Ildiko Good’s story was recorded in March 1993 and can be viewed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Website.

    Jack Parisar’s interview was conducted in August and can be viewed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Website.


     
    Remembering the Holocaust

    Remembering the Holocaust

    April 10, 2019

    As the Center for Public Policy continues to collaborate with other organizations to present programs pertaining to civic literacy, civility and history, its Director, Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham arranged for a unique program for the Orange County Forum, featuring noted conductor and educator Maestro Murry Sidlin. In the mid-1990s, Sidlin happened to come across the brief story of a man named Rafeal Schachter, a Romanian pianist, vocal coach and conductor before being imprisoned in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp (Terezin) during World War II. With only a single smuggled copy of Verdi’s “Requiem,” Schachter taught it, one by one, to courageous Jews who performed it in the camp sixteen times, including one performance before senior SS officials from Berlin and the International Red Cross. Noting that a requiem is a song for the dead, Schachter told his choir of concentration inmates, “We will sing to the Nazis what we cannot say to them.”

    Moved by the story, Maestro Sidlin embarked on a quest for the world to remember the men, women and children of Terezin and composed “Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin,” a compelling concert-drama combining the music of Verdi with video testimony from survivors of the original Terezin chorus and footage from the 1944 Nazi propaganda film about Theresienstadt.

    When the Pacific Symphony added “Defiant Requiem” to its seasonal program with Maestro Sidlin conducting, Dr. Chatham arranged for a unique and personal conversation with Sidlin and the Pacific Symphony’s President, John Forsyte.

    Maestro Sidlin’s interview can be viewed at OC Forum | Videos. Click here learn more about “Defiant Requiem” the film documenting its history,


     
    Remembering D-Day: A World War II Combat Veteran

    Remembering D-Day: A World War II Combat Veteran

    May 2, 2019

    Under the direction of Concordia’s Professor of Music Jeff Held, the Concordia Wind Ensemble performed with musicians from across America to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6 at Normandy, France. Designated the D-Day Memorial Wind Band, the combined musicians were conducted by 94-year-old Col. Arnald Gabriel, a 36-year Armed Forces World War II combat veteran who became one of the most accomplished military band conductors in U.S. History.

    Prior to the Concordia Wind Ensemble’s trip to Europe, the Concordia Wind Ensemble performed several concerts in Orange County. Including a performance in the CU Center on the CUI campus. As part of the program, the Center for Public Policy arranged for a pre-concert “living history” discussion with World War U.S. Army veteran Fred Whitaker.

    Fred Whitaker volunteered to serve as a 17-year-old when the war broke out. He was deployed to the 87th Infantry of General George Patton’s 3rd Army. During the Battle of the Bulge Fred was wounded on Christmas Day 1944. Speaking to an audience in the CU Center, the 91-year-old shared his experiences and memories of World War II and America’s role in defeating Nazism and tyranny. Whitaker was interviewed by Dr. Caleb Karges, Asst. Professor of History and Political Thought and Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham, Director of the Center for Public Policy.


     
    Grand Opening of Historical Document Display

    Grand Opening of Historical Document Display

    October 3, 2019

    The Center’s Director, Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham, was the featured speaker at the Grand Opening of the Historical Documents display at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. Organized by the National Archives and Records Administration staff at the Library, the display includes the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the twelve amendments sent to the states for ratification in 1789, ten being ratified by December 15, 1791 and known as the Bill of Rights. The display also includes miniature dioramas of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Supreme Court as well as a tabletop layout of Washington, D. C., noting locations of the White House, Capitol Hill and major monuments.

    Jo Ellen briefly discussed the historical importance of each document, but focused primarily on the low levels of civic literacy in the United States, why Americans are so ignorant of their own past and founding documents, and what might be done to reverse these trends.


     
    Lutheran Mission West Conference

    Lutheran Mission West Conference

    October 17, 2019

    Lutheran Social Services of Southern California hosted “Mission West Online Conference” focusing on church leadership during times of upheaval, social unrest, polarizing politics and a global pandemic and the heavy burdens on churches and their leaders. Centered on Rev. Dr. Tod Bolshinger’s popular book, Canoeing the Mountains, the event was a partnership between three west coast Districts of the LCMS and was available to in person and online participants. Among the speakers at the all-day event were Dr. LaShandra Beckwith, President and CEO of Lutheran Social Services; Rev. Dr. Tod Bolsinger, Vice President of Vocation and Formation at Fuller Seminary; Shawn Nelson, Orange County Chief Assistant District Attorney; and Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham, Director of the Center for Public Policy at Concordia University Irvine.


     
    Tear Down That Wall Commemoration

    “Tear Down That Wall” Commemoration

    November, 2019

    Charlie Zhang, a donor to the Center and friend to Concordia University Irvine, was among four individuals invited as honored guests by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library to attend the unveiling ceremony of a statue of President Reagan at the American embassy in Berlin, Germany. The statue is commemorative of President Reagan’s historic speech before the Brandenburg Gate in June, 1987 in which he called for Soviet Leader Gorbachev “to tear down this wall.”

    The statue was installed at the embassy on a balcony overlooking the Brandenburg Gate straddling the former East and West Berlin. The intimate ceremony included a presentation by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and was preceded by an international foreign policy conference.

    Unable to attend, Mr. Zhang asked Jo Ellen Chatham, Director of the Center for Public Policy to formally represent him and his wife, ling, at the event.

  5. Becoming America: A Daily Report on the Constitutional Convention of 1787

    Becoming America: A Daily Report on the Constitutional Convention of 1787

    Summer, 2020

    During the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown of most public events as well as schools, many businesses and other entities, the Center, which has changed its name and focus to the Center for Civics Education, took the opportunity to advance its mission online. Beginning on May 1 and continuing through September 17, a daily blog was posted on the Center’s website, each day corresponding to the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which drafted the Constitution.

    Although the Convention convened on May 25, 1787, the blog began on May 1 to provide the setting for the Convention in the mid-1770 including, the city Philadelphia where the Convention took place, brief biographies of delegates, events leading up to and during the Convention, and summaries of debates as recorded in the notes and letters of James Madison and others. Ratification of the Constitution was not assured until June 21, 1787. The blog continued to be posted for an additional sixty days to cover the state ratifying conventions.

    The blogs were written from original sources to capture the proceedings of the Convention as well as the men who drafted the Constitution and the issues they faced. The blog can be found on the Center’s website


     
    Becoming America: The Constitutional Convention of 1787

    Becoming America: The Constitutional Convention of 1787 – YouTube

    Summer, 2020

    The COVID pandemic also provided an opportunity for the Center’s Director and two colleagues to tape a series of seventeen videos on the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

    ”Becoming America: The Constitutional Convention of 1787” incorporates the music of “Convention: The Birth of America,” composed by Judge Jim Gray (retired) Steve Lawless and Joel Henry Stein. A blend of music, history and political thought, each of the seventeen episodes begins with a lively, history-based song from “Convention,” followed by conversations with a wide variety of experts, scholars and authors hosted by Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham, Judge Jim Gray and The Honorable Bijan Kian. Woven through the series is a theme of realism and optimism – “The United States of America is the perfect idea; the United States is a work in progress.”

    Among the guests who appear in the series are David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States; Dr. William B. Allen, former Chairman of the United States Commission on Civil Rights; Dr. Tom Campbell, former Member of Congress and Dean of the Chapman School of Law; Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College; Dr. Bryan Santin, Professor at Concordia University Irvine; Dr. John Kaminski, Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of the American Constitution; Major General James Williams (Ret), USMC; and others.

    The series can be viewed on YouTube or the Center’s website

  6. Remembering 9-11

    Remembering 9-11

    Sept. 11, 2021

    Under the direction of Jeff Held, Concordia University Irvine Professor of Orchestral Activities and Assistant Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, the Concordia Wind Orchestra performed a concert to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the attacks on America on September 11, 2021. Center Director Jo Ellen Chatham arranged for a special presentation to precede the concert, featuring Jackie Charnley. When the attacks occurred, Charnley was in the second World Tower building, barely escaping before the building collapsed, killing hundreds. She shared her harrowing experience with the concert audience and how she and her companions were able to get out of the building, across the river to safety.


     
    Celebrating Constitution Week

    Celebrating Constitution Week

    September 13 - 17, 2021

    Under the leadership of the Center for Civics Education and in collaboration with the Departments of English and History/Political Thought, the Center for Student Leadership and Development, the Associated Students of CUI, the Veterans Resource Center and the CUI Library, Concordia University Irvine celebrated Constitution Week with an array of events and activities.

    An educational kiosk was set up in front of the cafeteria for three hours on Monday through Thursday. Staffed by student volunteers, Professor Jeff Malinson and Center Director Jo Ellen Chatham, free pocket Constitutions and TUITs were distributed along with written quizzes, anagrams, word searches, and cross word puzzles – all devoted to the Constitution and available to everyone. Computers were available for taking online Constitutional tests and to determine whether individuals’ political philosophies was more like those of James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and other Founding Fathers.

  7. Representative Michele Steel Visits CUi

    Representative Michele Steel Visits CUI

    April 12, 2022

    On April 12, the Center for Civics Education convened a Town Hall meeting with Republican Congressional Representative Michelle Steel. Before an audience of students, faculty and staff, Rep. Steel related her experience as an immigrant from Korea and how she entered the field of politics, including serving on the Orange County Board of Supervisors before being elected to Congress. Among her many public policy objectives are reducing onerous taxes and regulations impacting small businesses.

    Before the Town Hall, Rep. Steel met with President Michael Thomas, the President of the Associated Student Body, as well as top administrators and other representatives of the Associated Students of CUI.


     
    Representative Katie Visits CUI

    Representative Katie Porter Visits CUI

    April 20, 2022

    On April 20, 2022, the Center for Civics Education convened a second Town Hall meeting, this time with Democratic Congressional Representative Katie Porter. Concordia University Irvine is in Rep. Porter’s congressional district. Prior to being elected to Congress, Porter, a single mother of three, taught at the University of California Law School. Before an audience of students, faculty and staff, Rep. concentrated most of her remarks on student loan forgiveness and her role as a consumer advocate in Congress.

    Before the Town Hall, Rep. Porter met with President Michael Thomas, the Vice President of the Associated Student body as well as top administrators and representatives of the Associated Students of CUI.


     
    Becoming America: Lecture Series at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

    Becoming America: Lecture Series at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

    September 13, 2022 – February 28, 2023

    Co-sponsored by the Center for Civics Education, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, and the National Archives and Records Administration, a series of eighteen lectures was delivered at the Library focusing on the history, meaning and current application of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Titled “Becoming America: How We Gained and Secured Freedom and Self-Government,” the lectures were delivered by Dr. Bryan Santin, Professor of English and History at Concordia University Irvine; Lisa Matthews, former Adjunct Professor of History and Political Thought at Concordia University Irvine; Dr. Volker Janssen and Dr. Robert Robinson, both Professors at California State University Fullerton; and Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham, Director of the Center for Civics Education and Adjunct Professor at Concordia University Irvine.

    Each lecture was live streamed on the Richard Nixon Library You Tube channel and remains available on that channel as well as on the Center’s website.


     
    Religious Freedom in the Dock

    Religious Freedom In the Dock

    September 29, 2022

    Center Director Jo Ellen Chatham and Scott Carpenter, past Vice President of the CUI student government and former aide to State Senator John Moorlach, were invited as guests of the First Liberty Institute to Carlsbad for an evening of presentations and discussions about religious liberty.

    First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the United States dedicated exclusively to defending religious liberty for all Americans, for those of any faith or no faith at all. The First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of worship and the prohibition of establishing religion by Congress have been subjects of legal interpretation in the Supreme Court for generations. The Center was honored to have been invited.

  8. Support the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County

    Support the Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County

    February, 2023

    Bobby McDonald, President of the Orange County Black Chamber of Commerce and member of the Advisory Board for the Center for Civics Education, hosted a Future Leaders Luncheon to educate and encourage young people to be active in business and the community. Held during Black History Month at The Grove in Anaheim, the event attracted business and community leaders from all walks of life. The Center for Civics Education was proud to provide more than 300 pocket-sized Constitution to all who attended.


     
    Political Leaders Address the Issues

    Political Leaders Address the Issues

    Feb 2, 2023

    The Center for Civics Education continues to engage with the Orange County Forum, especially providing assistance for programs relating to education, public policy and public service. Jo Ellen Chatham, the Center’s Director and Board member of the Forum, worked closely with Henry Mendoza to invite a panel of Democratic and Republican leaders to discuss “What’s New in Politics?” The panel included Shawn Steel, Republican Party National Committeeman from California; Rusty Hicks, California Democratic Party Chair; Randall Avila, Orange County Republican Party Executive Director; and Ajay Mohan, Orange County Democratic Party Executive Director. The sold-out event was moderated by Rick Reiff, former Editor-at-Large of the Orange County Business Journal.

    The program can be viewed at OC Forum | Videos.


     
    Presenting a TUIT to Former Vice President Pence

    Presenting a “TUIT” to Former Vice President Pence

    April 19, 2023

    Attending an Energy Conference at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, Center Director Jo Ellen Chatham had the opportunity to present a “TUIT” to former Vice President Mike Pence. From “one Hoosier to another,” Pence was intrigued by the TUIT and saw its advantage over a pocket-size Constitution.

    A “TUIT” simply is a reminder to “get around to it…” in this case, to read the Constitution. The reverse side of the TUIT includes the Center’s website address and a QR code which gives instant access to the Constitution on your cell phone.

    To view Vice President Pence’s remarks, look at the Nixon National Energy Conference webpage.


     
    Beyond Degrees Professional Workshop Program Launched

    Beyond Degrees Professional Workshop Program Launched

    April 27, 2023

    The Center for Civics Education announced its new “Beyond Degrees” project at its “Launches and Lunch” event and introduced Virginia Suveiu’s new book, Handbook of Risk Management and the Law, published by Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. Nearly forty business and community leaders attended the lunch at Concordia’s Conference Center and another twenty joined via Zoom. Redmount Mergers and Acquisitions graciously hosted the lunch while Founding Managing Partner Paul Valencia served as Master of Ceremonies.

    “Beyond Degrees” is designed for adult learners who seek additional skills, knowledge or resources for personal or professional growth. Instructors are experts with extensive background in business, education, non-profit organizations or public policy involvement who apply their expertise to helping other professionals sharpen their own competencies. Beyond Degrees will be offered in the near future. For more information, visit the Beyond Degrees page.

    “Beyond Degrees” is managed by Concordia Adjunct Professors Jo Ellen Chatham, Virginia Suveiu and Alain Mazer. Virginia’s new book provides an all-inclusive resource, specifying everything that needs to be known in compliance and risk management law. An essential reference for students, researchers, and professionals with an interest in business law, risk management, strategic management, and business ethics, it is already #6 in sales in its category and may be obtained through Amazon.


     
    The Constitution and the Value of Public Service

    The Constitution and the Value of Public Service

    September 19, 2023

    On Tuesday evening, former Illinois Congressman, John Shimkus, visited Concordia to consider the importance of the Constitution as it influenced his life in public service. A graduate of the military academy at West Point, veteran of active service and member of the House of Representatives for twenty-years, Rep. Shimkus took the oath of allegiance to the Constitution on many occasions. His long career in public service included teaching after he received his teaching credential at Christ College, now known as Concordia University Irvine.

    Prior to Cong. Shimkus’ address to a general audience, the Center for Civics Education (CEE) hosted an intimate dinner for Rep. and Mrs. Shimkus, Dr. Thomas, CUI student leaders, including ASCUI President Sam Schult and Courier Editor-in-Chief Jenna Hoffman, and several members of the CEE Advisory Board.

    Public service comes in many forms, Shimkus noted, including active and informed citizenship.

    The interview includes a brief history of Lutheran education by Concordia’s President, Michael Thomas, and an invocation by graduate student Commander James Suzuki.


     
    Constitution on the Green

    Constitution Week at Concordia 2023: Constitution on the Green

    September 18, 2023

    A great deal of appreciation is due to many in the Concordia University Irvine family who helped to celebrate Constitution Week, beginning with “Constitution on the Green” on Monday evening, September 18. Led by Assistant Dean and Conductor Jeff Held, the CUI Wind Ensemble performed a lively variety of historic patriotic songs as students, faculty and staff gathered on the patio and “the Green” in front of the CU Center.

    Adding to the fun was the brief performance of “You are the We” by its composers Judge Jim Gray and Steve Lawless, a melodious message from the Founding Fathers that bequeathed the Constitution to you and me. Our Constitution and our government rest on the authority of “We, the People,” and today that is us!

    Sponsored by the Veterans Resource Center and Director Richard Lewis, burritos and chips were enjoyed as Constitutional puzzles, games and crafts were available to assist those in attendance to think more deeply about our founding document.


     
    General George Washington: An Intimate Interview

    General George Washington: An Intimate Interview

    September 20, 2023

    For a second time, the Center was delighted to host General George Washington, straight from his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia. Responding to questions from interviewers Professor Bryan Santin and CEE Director, Jo Ellen Chatham, as well as students and others in attendance, Gen. Washington provided insights into the Constitutional Convention, over which he presided in 1787, as well as his years as President of the United States and events during the Revolutionary War.


     
    Student Roundtable: Representative John Shimkus

    Student Roundtable: Representative John Shimkus

    September 20, 2023

    On Wednesday morning, Rep. Shimkus participated in an intimate seminar with students selected from Professor Bryan Santin’s classes for an up-close discussion about public service, the workings of Congress, and other topics students chose to raise. His forthright responses to questions was refreshing in an environment when so much public policy discussions are filled with “spin.”


     
    “Debating

    Debating the Constitution: Is It Worth Saving?

    September 21, 2023

    Dr. Bryan Santin and Rev. John Nunes delighted the audience and provoked a lively discussion as they debated whether the Constitution is worth saving. While the Constitution itself is under attack from various quarters, the topic was important and timely. In addition to the importance of the issue, both men debated each side of the issue – a sterling example of bolstering your own views by clearly understanding those with opposite opinions – or even modifying yours. The friendly verbal joust also demonstrated the importance of maintaining civility when discussing important public policy issues.


     
    “Engaging

    Engaging the Constitution Student Style – A Trivia Quiz

    September 21, 2023

    Under the leadership of Amanda Norris, Director of Student Life and Leadership Development, and Samuel Schult, ASCUI President, the Associated Students sponsored “Trivia Night” in Rho Commons to provide an opportunity for students to test their knowledge of the Constitution and its early history. With food and prizes to reward the participants and a competitive challenge based on questions provided by the Center for Civics Education, an evening of constitutional inquiry was much more lighthearted than the convention held in 1787 which actually drafted the Constitution and sent it to the States for ratification. The video quiz was given an extra entertaining boost by the creativity of Club Commissioner Mason Dalbeck.


     
    Library display

    Learning More - At the Library

    September 17 - 21, 2023

    During Constitution Week and with the dedication and creativity of Arianna Dahlia, the CU Library displayed copies of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and an array of books dedicated to our founding documents and the history and struggles leading to their creation. The display included a QR code listing additional resources for further study. 


     
    Library display

    Reading the Constitution – One Way or Another

    September 2023

    Finally, ever present were pocket Constitutions and  the Center’s “TUITS,” reminding people to read the Constitution whenever they get “a round TUIT!” On the reverse side? A QR code to made sure you can read the Constitution any time, not just when you get a “round" to it.

    Many members of the Concordia University Irvine family worked together to make Constitution Week a success and achieve its goals of educating, informing and even entertaining as we celebrated, evaluated, and considered the importance of the Constitution in the present time as well as the past.

    Dr. Michael Thomas
    Dr. Jeff Held Richard Lewis
    Caroline Wong
    Jenna Hoffman
    Ann Ashmon
    Jeremiah Lauber
    Bryan Santin
    Rev. John Nunes
    Mason Dalbeck
    University Services
    Bon Appetit
    ASCUI


     
    Pianist to the President poster

    "Pianist to the Presidents" Honored

    October 1, 2023

    The Center for Civics Education initiated a unique project with the National Archives and Records Administration at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum to honor the life, legacy and music of Roger Williams, known as “the Pianist to the Presidents” for having performed in the White House for nine Presidents. Concordia’s Jeff Held, the Concordia Sinfonietta, and pianist Bryan Pezzone thrilled a standing-room only audience in the East Room of the Library with Williams’ musical stylings and a narrative about his historic contribution to American music.  Several years earlier, Williams had received the “Pianist to the President’s Award” at a memorable event at the Library. 

    The program, including Williams’ performance, can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClBDzDzqlcw.  The concert performed by Concordia musicians on October 1, 2023 can be viewed at www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVyXTyqiDLU


     
    Virtues

    Virtues of Liberal Education

    November 5, 2023

    Center Director Jo Ellen Chatham participated in a presentation by Dr. Roosevelt Montas, Director of the Freedom and Citizenship Program at Columbia University. Invited by Howard and Roberta Ahmanson to address an invitation only gathering, Montas described how he came from a rural village in the Dominican Republic and was changed forever by picking up two volumes of a series called the Harvard Universal Classics. Reading Plato opened a whole new world for him which led to his commitment to a classical liberal education and the value it has for all of us, including and especially for historically marginalized communities.  

    The classics of Western thought and literature and how they can remake lives and empower citizens inspired Montas to start a Great Books program for low-income high school students who aspire to be the first in their families to attend college. Montas shared the impact of a liberal education in Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation. 


     
    Former President George W. Bush and a CCE TUIT

    Former President George W. Bush and a CCE TUIT

    March 13, 2024

    Former President George W. Bush is the latest in a series of government and political leaders from both sides of the aisle to receive a TUIT from the Center for Civics Education. Designed for a QR code to transfer the Constitution to a cell phone, it makes it easy for anyone to read or refer to the Constitution whenever they “get a round to it!” Its more handy than a pocket-sized Constitution and a constant reminder that the Constitution is the “law of the land” and that is rests on “We, the People.”


     
    Celebrating Women’s History Month

    Celebrating Women’s History Month

    March 15, 2024

    On March 14, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum and the Richard Nixon Foundation partnered to host a women’s history symposium – Celebrating Women’s Impact. The unique gathering brought together people who made history as well as those who study it and to explore the post-war 20th-century advancements in the role of women in government. A keystone event of Women’s History Month programming of both the National Archives and Records Administration and the Nixon Foundation, four panels and a keynote speaker were live-streamed and taped for C-SPAN.

    Dr. Jo Ellen Chatham, Director of Concordia’s Center for Civics Education, was invited to moderate a panel discussion on “Women in Presidential Administrations” which included the remaining panel of the historic 1969 Taskforce on Women’s Rights and Responsibilities; the authors of the path-breaking Remember the Ladies: The Legacies of America’s History-Making Women; the chief of staff of a former first lady and the founder of the First Ladies Project at American University.

    Each of the panels can be viewed at:
    Celebrating Women's Impact

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