VOLUME 23 #1

Current cover
View interactive pdf


Delaware governor delivers annual Soles Lecturer

Governor Markell

OUR FACULTY | It’s entirely possible that no one in Delaware history has done more to inspire others to careers in public service and to civic engagement than Jim Soles, the state’s governor told an audience at the University on Oct. 14.

Gov. Jack Markell spoke at the Roselle Center for the Arts, delivering the fourth annual James R. Soles Lecture on the Constitution and Citizenship to an audience that included numerous colleagues and students of the late professor. Dr. Soles, who died in 2010, was a faculty member in the Department of Political Science and International Relations for more than 34 years.

“Jim Soles possessed an extraordinary passion for our democracy,” Markell said.

Markell recalled his own first meeting with Dr. Soles 40 years ago when the professor was waging an unsuccessful campaign to unseat Pete du Pont as Delaware’s congressman. Dr. Soles deeply impressed Markell with his enthusiasm for government service and the process of running for office.

“His life’s work is, I believe, a model for strengthening the democracy that our Constitution created,” Markell said.

Today, he said, the United States faces challenges in maintaining a society where citizens want to participate in democracy, through government service, volunteering, working for community groups and exercising their right to vote. To encourage that civic engagement, Markell cited the areas of education and civil rights as continuing challenges.

“I have no doubt that the public’s mindset can change,” he said. “But it’s going to take all of us to foster the kind of engaged citizens—people who want to become part of something bigger than themselves— that Prof. Soles inspired.”

The annual lecture that honors Dr. Soles also commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on Sept. 17, 1787.

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, AS65, delivered the inaugural Soles Lecture in 2011. Other speaker have been U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, BE75M, and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware.

Article by Ann Manser, AS73

  • University of Delaware   •   Newark, DE 19716   •   USA   •   Phone: (302) 831-2792   •   © 2018