Separation of Church and State Is Topic of Oct. 27 Lecture
SELINSGROVE—Susquehanna University’s 33rd annual Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow Lecture will feature Richard Katskee, assistant legal director at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. in the university’s Stretansky Concert Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Katskee litigates constitutional challenges to such issues as proselytization and religious instruction in public schools, religious displays on public property, government funding of faith-based organizations, and school-voucher programs, among other issues. He was one of the principal attorneys for the plaintiffs in a Pennsylvania case successfully challenging a school district’s inclusion of intelligent-design creationism in its ninth-grade biology curriculum. He also coordinates Americans United’s advocacy program, which educates legislators, school board members and other public officials about Establishment Clause requirements and seeks to resolve constitutional violations amicably.
Before joining Americans United, Katskee spent several years as a lawyer in Washington, D.C. He earned his A.B. with highest distinction and high honors from the University of Michigan; his A.M. in political science from Harvard University, where he was a National Science Foundation graduate fellow; and his J.D. from the Yale Law School, where he was an articles editor on the Yale Law Journal. He clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He also served as a Eugene P. Beard graduate fellow in ethics at the Harvard University Program in Ethics and the Professions, and he taught professional and political ethics at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Randy Robertson, assistant professor of English and creative writing, and a member of the Woodrow Wilson Committee at Susquehanna, said he hopes the lecture will make audience members consider the role religion plays in the public life. “I'm very interested to see how students interpret the establishment clause of the First Amendment, the clause that details what we now call, following Jefferson, the ‘separation of church and state,’” said Robertson.
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation brings public figures and scholars to Susquehanna and other universities each year. Speakers spend a week on campus getting to know the community and participate in a week of classes and informal discussions. Past speakers for the program have included well-known government officials, business leaders and journalists.
Founded in 1858, Susquehanna University is a national liberal arts college that prepares students for achievement, leadership and service in a diverse, interconnected world. Academic excellence, study away and service learning, student-faculty collaboration, and rich opportunities for creative and personal growth are hallmarks of a Susquehanna University education. Susquehanna students come from 36 states and 13 countries, and more than 90 percent of them find jobs or pursue graduate study within six months of graduation. The university is located in central Pennsylvania, in the town of Selinsgrove, along the banks of the scenic Susquehanna River and about three hours from major East Coast cultural, financial and recreational centers. For more information, visit www.susqu.edu.
Karen M. Jones