October 3, 2001
Governor John Engler today dedicated the new state office building in Lansing at 525 Allegan Street. It is named "Constitution Hall" because it is the site of the old Lansing Civic Center, where Michigans fifth Constitutional Convention, known as "Con-Con," took place forty years ago.
The Governor opened by praising the delegates. "We honor and remember our states constitution makers. Forty years ago today, you began some of the most important work in our states history. You make us proud," Engler said.
On October 3, 1961, 144 elected delegates began the 137 days of debate over how to improve Michigans basic instrument of government. Up to that time, the 1908 Constitution was in use. The delegates adjourned on August 1, 1962, and the citizens of Michigan voted to adopt their work as the State Constitution on April 1,1963.
"A majority of the people voted to approve the Constitution of 1963," Engler said. "We are glad they did, because it is one of the finest state constitutions in the United States. This magnificent building is being named Constitution Hall to commemorate the good work that was done at the Con-Con."
The days Con-Con reunion and celebration began with a panel discussion that consisted of six former delegates moderated by a reporter who covered the 1961-62 Convention. That event was followed by a reunion luncheon for the delegates, staff, and their families.
Governor Engler told the nearly 100 people present, "Four decades later, the judgment of history speaks with one voice. You succeeded brilliantly. The Constitution you drafted is an elegant summation of our legacy of liberty, a determination to prevail against the lawlessness and hostility of people who do not share our way of life."
The Con-Con celebration ended with the dedication ceremony for the newly-built Constitution Hall. The Governor said, "It is our hope that the people of Michigan, especially our young people, familiarize themselves with the Constitution of 1963. It is the framework of government that has served our state well these past forty years and will no doubt continue to do so for many years to come. Ultimately our Constitution is a great tutorial in freedom. You created a freedom charter worth celebrating."
The Governor also noted the important contributions the Con-Con delegates made to Michigan politics after the Convention adjourned. "You made many contributions to our great state. You changed the face of Michigan politics," Engler noted.