The Colonel Bud Day Center for Civic Engagement was founded in the spring of 2015 as a nonpartisan center for activities relating to citizenship and civic awareness. It is a regionally recognized resource that encourages and supports students' civic and political engagement in the Morningside and Siouxland communities.
The center honors Colonel George E. "Bud" Day, a 1950 graduate of Morningside College. Cononel Day was a Medal of Honor and Air Force Cross recipient who served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
With a mission to provide educational resources and experiences to engage citizens in civic and political processes, the center:
- Hosts prominent political candidates and elected officials, including presidential candidates participating in the first in the nation Iowa Caucuses, to provide members of the Morningside and Siouxland communities opportunities to interact directly with their political and community leaders.
- Offers multiple lectures and workshops dedicated to expanding interest and involvement in community issues, including seminars on how the Iowa Caucus works as well as changes in election and voting laws.
- Provides resources to discuss issues relevant to citizens, such as the Morningside Poll, a state-wide survey conducted by the center that focuses on the policy concerns and perspectives of Iowans.
Dr. Valerie Hennings, associate professor of political science, has served as the director of the Col. Bud Day Center for Civic Engagement since 2016. Dr. Hennings teaches political science and gender studies courses and serves as co-adviser for the Morningside Civic Union, a campus organization that promotes awareness of political and social issues. Her research focuses on a variety of issues relating to political behavior, gender and politics, and civic engagement.
Dr. Hennings received her bachelor's degree from Morningside in 2001. She has master's degrees from George Washington University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.