Presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott speaks on campus Sept. 29

Published 1:17 pm Monday, September 4, 2023

The University of Mississippi‘s Declaration of Independence Center for the Study of American Freedom will host U.S. Sen. Tim Scott on Sept. 29 for a discussion of the state of American democracy and the importance of restoring faith in the country.

The 7 p.m. event, which was originally slated for 2022, is free and open to the public in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts.

The Declaration Center is dedicated to providing an open-minded examination and higher education exploration of America’s freedom and citizens’ unalienable rights.

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Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, is seeking his party’s nomination for the 2024 presidential race. In 2022, he authored “America: A Redemption Story, Choosing Hope, Creating Unity,” which chronicles his path from growing up in a poor, single-parent household to becoming the first African American elected to both the U.S. House and Senate.

“The University of Mississippi is honored to welcome Sen. Scott to our campus, and this event is a very special opportunity to hear remarks from a distinguished leader,” Chancellor Glenn Boyce said. “Sen. Scott will offer students engaging, nuanced views of the values of democracy and freedom.”

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker will provide opening remarks at the event. 

“Universities should teach young people about our nation’s founding ideals and remind the rest of us that those values still matter today,” Wicker said. “I am thrilled that the Declaration of Independence Center will be hosting my colleague Sen. Tim Scott, who offers compelling insights into American liberty and opportunity in our complex world.”

Steven Skultety, UM chair and professor of philosophy and director of the center, will moderate the discussion.

“I believe Sen. Scott’s perspective on where America has been and is going should resonate with all who attend,” Skultety said. “His consistent message is that America is a place of hope and opportunity.

“I think it’s this same optimistic spirit that most citizens recognize in the founders. The goal of the center’s programming is to ‘spark positive interest in civics and the key ideas that inspired the Declaration of Independence.’”

Skultety revitalized the center, which was created in 2007, when he was named director in 2021. The center will offer student scholarships and public lectures, serve as an information clearinghouse, and plans to sponsor faculty research for institutions of higher learning across the state.

In spring 2024, the UM College of Liberal Arts is adding a minor in freedom studies, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation, Skultety said.

“We are honored that Sen. Scott is visiting the Ole Miss campus to deliver his thoughts at such a critical time for our country,” he said. “We believe his perspective will enrich campus conversations and help foster increased understanding and civic engagement critical for our nation’s future.”

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