Dr. Christopher Hammons, professor of government and director of the new Morris Family Center for Law and Liberty at Houston Christian University, has long been admired by all the Houston-area NSDAR chapters as a frequent speaker for numerous Daughters of the American Revolution meetings. He was nominated and sponsored by the John McKnitt Alexander Chapter, NSDAR, of Houston to become the recipient of the Mary Smith Lockwood Founders Medal for Education, presented by State Regent Marcy Carter-Lovick at the 2023 TXDAR State Conference. The award, named for one of the four founders of the DAR, recognizes citizens who have given unselfishly to their nation, state, or community by contributing to society through service, educational pursuit, or through a specific deed that exceeds normal duties or employment obligations. This honor recognized Dr. Hammons for his exemplary achievement in promoting education outside of the formal educational process.

In the march toward the celebration of America’s 250th birthday, one of the biggest Semiquincentennial “monuments” opened in Texas in 2022 was The Morris Family Center for Law and Liberty. This impressive structure is a nearly identical replica of Independence Hall in Philadelphia and was the brainchild of Dr. Hammons, who traveled to Philadelphia in 2013 to obtain copies of the original Independence Hall blueprints. This began a ten-year campaign to raise funds for the structure.

In addition to using the building for the university-level classes, Dr. Hammons regularly conducts small school tours for primarily elementary aged students. Students visiting the replica structure remain completely engaged from reenacting “The British are coming” ride before Lexington on stick horses to ringing the life-sized replica of the Liberty Bell. Dr. Hammons highlights the importance of the justice system by having the students first experience the Boston Massacre and then sit in the jury box in the replica of the Supreme Court Chamber to deliberate the fate of the British soldiers involved. Students also can don colonial apparel and enter the Assembly Hall where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed. After Dr. Hammons explains the significance and importance of both documents, the students are invited to add their own “John Hancock” with a modified quill pen to a document that they will take back to their school. Students get to keep their tri-corner hats and receive a copy of the U.S. Constitution to remember this significant learning experience.

Some years ago, Dr. Hammons found, “It was increasingly apparent that fewer and fewer of our students understood the importance of our constitutional system of government” and necessitated “an academic initiative to address that problem and make sure our students understand the beauty of our nation’s founding principles. … What we want them to understand is that as many challenges as our nation faces, that regardless of where you’re from, regardless of who your parents are, these founding principles in our nation’s founding documents are important to their future.” The DAR is proud to recognize Dr. Hammons for promoting our nation’s founding principles to the next generation in such a BIG and tangible way!