Pattersons donate Charters of Freedom monument

See photos from the dedication event

A monument to honor the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights will be dedicated during a ceremony on the Hanover College campus, Tuesday, Sept. 19. The event will begin at 4 p.m. in front of the Lynn Center for Fine Arts.

Charters of Freedom monument

Charters of Freedom features life-sized replicas of the early American documents, which were instrumental to the philosophy and founding of the nation. The monument, made of Indiana limestone, bronze and glass, is inspired by the permanent home of the original documents in the Rotunda of the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

The tribute is a gift from Vance Patterson, a 1972 Hanover graduate, and his wife, Mary Jo, a member of the College’s Class of 1975. The couple’s donation stems from an emotional visit to the National Archives in 2011.

“Seeing something our founding fathers had actually penned, and then their signatures - Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Rutledge and the others - I got goosebumps,” said Vance Patterson. “When I moved over and saw the first page of the Constitution and the words, ‘We The People,’ I actually got a lump in my throat.”

Charters of Freedom monument donors Mary Jo & Vance Patterson

The Pattersons lead Foundation Forward, Inc., a non-profit organization which constructs and donates Charters of Freedom memorials across the U.S. The couple’s goal is to provide localized access to the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights for educational purposes, as well as share their moving experience at the National Archives. The monuments are placed in high-visibility, high-foot-traffic areas with easy accessibility for area school children.

Hanover is the first college to receive a gift of the Charters of Freedom. The first monument was dedicated July 4, 2014, in Morgantown, N.C. Monuments have since been placed in Indiana, Illinois, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The campus dedication ceremony will feature comments from retired U.S. Circuit Judge John Daniel Tinder, Vance Patterson, Hanover President Lake Lambert and Mark Levett, chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees. Hanover’s concert band will also perform at the event.

A time-capsule signing will be held at a post-dedication reception. The time capsule will also include a variety of Hanover-related items, including a message from Lambert, Hanoverian magazine, athletic records and more. Once closed, the time capsule vault will remain sealed until Sept. 17, 2087, when the U.S. celebrates the 300-year anniversary of the Constitution.

In addition to the afternoon ceremony, David Bodenhamer will be the featured speaker during the evening to cap the dedication events.

Bodenhamer, who holds a doctorate from Indiana University, is the founder and executive director of The Polis Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The Center has developed more than 700 projects and a wide array of local, national and international partnerships with grant and contract funding totaling more than $85 million.

Bodenhamer is the author or editor of 12 books on American legal and constitutional history. He also has made more than 100 presentations to audiences on four continents on topics ranging from legal and constitutional history to the use of geographic information systems and advanced information technologies.

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