Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship
Bringing the Mission of Hillsdale College to Our Nation’s Capital
The Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship is an extension of the teaching mission of Hillsdale College to Washington, D.C.
Its purpose is to teach the Constitution and the principles that give it meaning. Through the study of original source documents from American history—and of older books that formed the education of America’s founders—the Center will seek to inspire students, teachers, citizens, and policymakers to return the Constitution to its central place in the political life of the nation.Go To Kirby Center Website
The Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship is housed in a building that dates to 1892, when three townhouses were erected on what is now 227 Massachusetts Avenue NE. They were constructed of pressed brick in the style popular in Capitol Hill at the time, and each housed a single family. In the 1970s, the three houses were converted into one large office building, while the original exterior remained.
In 2008 the Kirby Center was launched. As Hillsdale sought a permanent home for the center, it looked to this century-old building then available for sale. The College acquired it and hired Rockford Construction of Michigan for the renovation work. Beginning in October 2009, the interior was gutted and refitted to suit the Kirby Center’s purpose; ultimately, 80 percent of the structure was removed and reconstructed. On September 17, 2010, the Kirby Center officially opened its new home, continuing Hillsdale College’s work in the nation’s capital.
Through teaching the principles and practice of American constitutionalism, the Kirby Center seeks to re-establish the fundamental conditions of freedom: true civic education in our schools and universities, the practice of self-government within society, and an understanding of enduring principles and their application in our politics.
In accordance with this mission, the Kirby Center hosts a variety of programs aimed at engaging students, teachers, citizens, and policymakers with the enduring principles of the American Constitution.
The Washington-Hillsdale Internship Program (WHIP) provides students the opportunity to participate in academically intensive, semester-long internships in Washington, D.C., while continuing their Hillsdale education with faculty at the Kirby Center.
AWC Family Foundation
The AWC Family Foundation Lecture Series addresses political, historical, and economic topics from a constitutional perspective. Started in 2008, the monthly lectures are open to the public and available online in video and webcast formats.
On or around September 17 of each year, Hillsdale College and the Kirby Center host a Constitution Day Celebration, a day-long event that includes panels, debates, and speeches on issues and controversies related to the Constitution and the principles of free government.
Since 2009, the James Madison Fellows Program has attracted more than two hundred senior-level congressional staff to annual retreats, monthly networking luncheons, and other special events to learn about and discuss constitutional first principles and their role and application in American politics and public policy.