Reception honors rights

By Julie Listek

The new Bill of Rights Plaza at NIU, built in commemoration of the bicentennial of the Bill of Rights, will have a reception. It is open to the public Tuesday, Oct. 29, after 5 p.m., next to the rose garden between Swen Parson Hall and Altgeld Hall, the site of the plaque bearing the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Those who donated funds to the construction of the plaque also will be honored at this time.

“We are having this reception to thank the local donors, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights and to talk about what it means today and in the future,” said James Alfini, dean of the College of Law.

“It’s very fitting that this monument to our fundamental liberties has been placed in the shadow of Altgeld Hall, which bears the name of a truly heroic figure who gave meaning to these rights in the face of a storm of criticism,” Alfini said.

“Gov. Altgeld’s pardon of the Haymarket anarchists was based on the constitutional principle that everyone is entitled to a fair trial,” he said.

Prior to the reception will be a program commemorating the anniversary of the Bill of Rights from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Moot Courtroom of Swen Parson Hall.

University of Chicago Law Dean Geoffry Stone will be the keynote speaker at the event, addressing the meaning of the Bill of Rights and what it will mean in the next 20 years.

Invitations were given out for this event due to the lack of sufficient space in the courtroom. However, the program is open to the public.

“The whole program is geared toward the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights and also the dedication of it (the Bill of Rights),” said Linda Walt, director of career service and alumni relations.

In support of the construction, the law firms of Boyle, Cordes and Brown, and Risman and Krasner contributed funds to help make the installation of the plaque possible.

Law firms of Klein, Stoddard and Buck, and Gallagher, Klein and Brady also contributed funds.

Gary Cordes, partner in Boyle, Cordes and Brown Attorneys said he feels the project was worthwhile and something they want to be associated with because it is “memorializing the Bill of Rights.”

“This is a very important document relative to the field of law,” he said.

Walt said the donations of the law firms were a large contribution in making the plaza possible.