Special Events and Awards

Each year the Drinko Academy organizes a week-long celebration of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, thus fulfilling the legal mandate upon which Marshall University’s access to federal funds, grants, and contracts depends.

We believe that the organization and execution of special events related to the signing of the U.S. Constitution are in the best interest of the campus and the community. The institution’s namesake, the Great Chief Justice John Marshall, played a vital role in our early national history, and the Drinko Academy has long spearheaded a series of efforts to improve public understanding of his role in the development of our constitutional system.
Constitution Week programming has come to involve a number of important traditions that contribute to our positive campus culture and that further the mission of both the Drinko Academy and the University.

These special events include:

  • The Robert C. Byrd Forum on Civic Responsibility, an event that is open and free to the public;
  • The bi-annual argument docket session at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, an educational program that doubles as a recruiting event in that it brings in hundreds of high school students from Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky to our lovely campus;
  • Our annual Quoits tournaments involving students, faculty, staff, senior administrators, alumni, representatives of the media and civic leaders, in an historic exercise that is specifically designed to promote civility and friendship across political divides;
  • A formal birthday celebration dinner for John Marshall that includes a performance by the Fife and Drum Corp as well as other forms of historical programming, which serves as a campus community-building exercise for a range of constituencies;
  • A John Marshall Birthday Cake Ceremony for students, faculty, and staff that involves the Provost and the President of the Student Government Association joining together to commemorate the Great Chief Justice and the spirit of consensus building that he advocated throughout his life.

The Drinko Academy also supports special events related to Black History Month and Women’s History Month. It sponsors, for example, the reception following the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lecture, held each February, as well as a reception for an event organized by Women’s Studies in the month of March.

In 2018, the Drinko Academy joined with the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Lyceum to host a special dinner in honor of Dr. Carla Hayden, the first female and first African American to hold the office of Librarian of Congress.

In 2020, the Drinko Academy will organize and sponsor a special event of particular significance to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted women the right to vote and which constitutes a crucial milestone in the history of our democracy.

In March and April, the Drinko Academy helps to sponsor special events that celebrate the academic achievements of its students and faculty. The annual Drinko Symposium serves as the occasion for the presentation of original research and/or creative production by a faculty member. And the Elizabeth Gibson Drinko Honors Convocation, established in 1994, constitutes the most important recognition of student achievement beyond our winter and spring commencement exercises.

Throughout the year, the Drinko Academy issues special awards. Among these are the Distinguished Drinko Fellow Award, the John Deaver Drinko Distinguished Service Award, and Drinko Academy Award for Public Service and Commitment to Civic Engagement.

Over the course of the 2019 calendar year, the Drinko Academy will be issuing the following one-time awards in celebration of its 25th Anniversary:

  • Drinko Academy Outstanding Student Citizen Award
  • Drinko Academy Physical Plant Employee Commitment Award
  • John Deaver Drinko Librarian Excellence Award
  • Drinko Academy Outstanding Citizen Alumni Award
  • Drinko Academy Huntington-Charleston Unity Award
  • Drinko Academy Outstanding Faculty Civic Engagement Award
  • Drinko Academy Outstanding Classified Staff Civic Engagement Award