Alumnus, a First Amendment expert, set for on-campus lecture Feb. 26

January 29, 2020

A Penn State alumnus and expert on the First Amendment will present a free public lecture about the topic in late February on the University Park campus.

Stephen D. Solomon, the Marjorie Deane Professor of Journalism at New York University, will present “A Revolutionary Idea: The Birth of Freedom of Speech in America” at 6 p.m. Feb. 26 in Carnegie Cinema.

Solomon’s latest book, "Revolutionary Dissent: How the Founding Generation Created the Freedom of Speech," explores how the raucous political protest of the nation’s founding period gave meaning to the freedoms of speech and press at a time when it was a crime to criticize public officials. Solomon is at work on a book that will tell the story of the birth of the Bill of Rights.

Solomon teaches First Amendment law and is the founding editor of NYU’s website,, which provides news, commentary, and legal and historical background on conflicts over freedom of expression.

His book, “Ellery’s Protest: How One Young Man Defied Tradition and Sparked the Battle over School Prayer,” explores the controversial religious freedom case, Abington School District v. Schempp. In 1963, the Supreme Court ruled that prayer and the Bible reading exercises in public schools of Pennsylvania and many other states violated the First Amendment. Another book, “Building 6: The Tragedy at Bridesburg,” revealed the cancer deaths of 54 workers at a chemical company in Philadelphia. Solomon’s investigative work on the tragedy won the Sidney Hillman Prize and the Gerald Loeb Award.

Solomon earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from Penn State and his juris doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. 




  • Steve Solomon

    Steve Solomon

    IMAGE: Photo Provided
Last Updated June 02, 2021