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In January 1997, under the direction of University of Pennsylvania President Judith Rodin, the NCC and Penn formed a partnership to turn the concept into something more tangible. Faculty at the Law School, along with the Graduate School of Fine Arts, the Graduate School of Education and Penn’s history department, helped shape the museum, create programs, and define the NCC’s role as an educational tool.
Richard R. Beeman, Professor of History and Dean of Penn’s College of Arts & Sciences, was involved with the project when it was just an unrealized idea. He recalls that former Penn Law Dean, Colin Diver, was “very supportive of the notion that Penn, with important input from the Law School, would provide a lot of the intellectual and academic foundation.”
As the NCC opens its doors to visitors, no law school in the nation is better prepared to lead important discussions about the vitality, endurance, and meaning of the Constitution than Penn Law. The school's Constitutional law faculty includes: Matthew Adler, C. Edwin Baker, Frank J. Goodman, Seth F. Kreimer, Nathaniel Persily, Kermit Roosevelt and Kim Lane Scheppele, an NCC visiting scholar in 1998-99.
At the core of the Constitution Center’s educational mission are scholarly programs, lecture and book series, and other projects (see sidebar) with Penn Law faculty and students such as Jason Abel L’03.
As editor of the Journal of Constitutional Law, Abel, now an associate at O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, D.C., says he and his student colleagues have worked “to create a long-lasting relationship with the NCC ever since its inception,” helping to develop, among other things, the NCC’s interactive website.
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