Volinsky is the FPU’s first “civic scholar”

As of today, class is in session for Andru Volinsky at Franklin Pierce University.

The former New Hampshire executive councilor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate is the school’s first-ever “resident civic scholar”. He was scheduled to deliver the first of his three public talks on the Rindge campus this morning as part of Franklin Pierce’s annual Constitution Day celebration. Next semester, Volinsky will teach an undergraduate graduate seminar titled “Law and Public Policy for Change”.

“I am delighted to take on this role and join Franklin Pierce,” said Volinsky, 65, of Concord. “I am really looking forward to working with students on a topic that has motivated me for some time, namely civic engagement.

Volinsky, a lawyer who still deals with matters of public interest through his Chichester-based 160 Law PLLC law firm, said he views this new academic position as extremely important.

“I think we are as divided a nation as possible, and we have to find a way to talk to each other, even though we may disagree,” he said. “I think young people in particular have an important perspective that we have to respect. And young people in particular should test their civic muscles, learn how the different community and government systems work in our society, and understand how they can play a role, starting in college and hopefully for the rest of their lives. . ”

Kathryn Grosso Gann, spokesperson for the university, which has around 1,200 students and 235 faculty and staff at its Rindge campus, said Volinsky’s post at the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences is one of the many residency research programs the university plans to create in the coming years. For example, Franklin Pierce could bring in health care and business experts for one-year stays in Rindge, she said.

“So this is just one of many, hopefully, that we’re really excited about,” said Grosso Gann. “And with Andru in particular, what’s really great is that he’s going to be here for a year, fall and spring, is that he’s really going to become a committed member of our community. And students will have great access to really ask questions, seek answers, have an open dialogue on topics that I think are really relevant today.

In addition to his public events this fall, Volinsky said he had previously been invited to lecture in several classes at Franklin Pierce that cut across his areas of expertise, including criminal justice courses. Volinsky holds a law degree from the George Washington Law School in Washington, DC, and began his career as a public defender in Tennessee and teaching at the University of Tennessee.

Volinsky – who spent four years representing the Executive Council’s Second District, which covers Keene and much of the Monadnock area – last spoke to Franklin Pierce in February 2020, he said. He referred to the recent commutation of the death penalty he had obtained for a client in Georgia with whom he has worked for 30 years.

During this address, Volinsky met Matthew Konieczka, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

“And one thing led to another, and we started talking about what a potential role might be for me as a guest speaker,” Volinsky said. “And given our mutual interest in civic engagement, this program was born. ”

In a press release announcing Volinsky’s new post at Franklin Pierce, Konieczka said the university was honored to welcome him for the 2012-22 school year.

“Our students will learn greatly from the breadth of Mr. Volinsky’s experience as a lawyer, elected official and advocate, as we continue to provide them with the opportunity to be confident and knowledgeable citizens,” Konieczka said. .

Volinsky said his primary goal as Franklin Pierce’s resident civic scholar is to help students discover the wide variety of ways they can engage with each other and the world around them.

“So I want students to understand the opportunities to build community. Sometimes it’s in your backyard, but sometimes it’s statewide, ”he said.

“… And too often today, we do not focus enough on the search for a common good. And I especially want the students of my seminar to be alert to and seek out opportunities.

His first lecture, “Can Constitutions Save the American Dream?” Was scheduled this morning at 11 am in Spagnuolo Hall on the Franklin Pierce University campus and was also scheduled to be broadcast live online. Volinsky said on Tuesday that the public event will focus on funding schools and educating the public. The conference can also be viewed at https://portal.stretchinternet.com/franklinpierceadmin/.

“I hope that (this) helps people understand how the Supreme Court of the United States and the Supreme Court of the States work and how sometimes the decisions of those courts are more than a question of words on the page, and how they can demand that we are all civically engaged in order to make the words on the page a practical reality, ”Volinsky said of his lecture.

He has extensive experience in funding schools in New Hampshire and worked as senior counsel in the 1997 Claremont Schools Funding case before the State Supreme Court which established the duty to l State to finance adequate public education. The latest legal battle over the state’s school funding formula, brought by the ConVal School District and joined by 18 other districts across the state, is back in superior court after a Supreme Court ruling from the ‘State in March.

Volinsky’s next public lecture, “Are Voting Rights Safe?” Is scheduled for October 28. His last speech of the fall semester, the subject of which has not yet been fixed, will be on November 9.

Jack Rooney can be reached at 352-1234, ext. 1404, or jrooney@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @RooneyReports.These articles are shared by The Granite State News Collaborative partners. For more information, visit collaborativenh.org.

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