On the Podium: Guest lecturers at MTSU

MTSU regularly welcomes guest speakers to campus to enlighten, inform and even entertain the University community with their commentaries and contributions. Some recent visits are featured below.

Oct. 12, 2011: Sandy Johnson

REAL-WORLD JOURNALISM — Sandy Johnson, right, makes a point during lunch with MTSU journalism and political-science students in the Sidelines office before her Oct. 12 lecture on campus. Listening are, from left, Sidelines Editor-in-Chief Amanda Haggard, Arts and Entertainment Editor Becca Andrews and Managing Editor Todd Barnes. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)


Journalist explains the ‘good fight’ against political corruption

Veteran journalist Sandy Johnson tackled “Uncovering Corruption: Tracking the Special-Interest Money that is Making Washington Ungovernable” Oct. 12 in MTSU’s State Farm Lecture Hall. Johnson, a former Associated Press bureau chief in Washington, D.C., now is managing editor for politics and government at the Center for Public Integrity in Washington. Her lecture was part of the Seigenthaler Speaker Series, sponsored by the Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies in MTSU’s College of Mass Communication. At the CPI, she oversees campaign finance, lobbying, politics, political ethics and federal agencies. Johnson was a Pulitzer finalist for refusing to project George W. Bush as winner of the 2000 presidential election when Florida remained too close to call, leading to the AP’s status as the lone major news outlet in the exit-poll consortium that didn’t have to reverse its election call. Before her MTSU lecture, Johnson shared lunch with MTSU journalism and political-science students in the Sidelines newspaper office, where students asked her advice on getting plenty of mileage out of their stories, getting and keeping a job in a steadily downsizing industry and how to best approach political coverage in a student newspaper in the coming presidential election cycle. You can watch a brief video of her lecture here

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Sept. 20, 2011: John Seigenthaler and John Seigenthaler Jr.

NEWS MEN — John Michael Seigenthaler, left, and John Seigenthaler listen to a question from the audience during their special “Living the First Amendment” discussion in MTSU’s Learning Resources Center Sept. 20. (MTSU photo by Mike Browning)

Seigenthalers review careers spent ‘Living the First Amendment’

John Seigenthaler, founder of the First Amendment Center, and John MIchael Seigenthaler, former NBC News journalist and CEO of Seigenthaler Public Relations – New York, drew on their decades of print, broadcast and online journalism experience to launch the 2011 First Amendment Speaker Series at MTSU Sept. 20, 2011. The father-son news team spoke with a crowd of more than 300 in the McWherter Learning Resources Center to examine how media and society reflect each other’s changes. Applying the First Amendment to social media, as well as other forms of communication, is a challenge that young journalists will have to address, they agreed. John Seigenthaler was a reporter, editor, publisher and CEO of The Tennessean as well as an administrative assistant for then-U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and founding editorial director for USA Today. In 1986, MTSU established the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies in the College of Mass Communication, honoring the veteran journalist’s lifelong commitment to free expression. John Michael Seigenthaler spent more than 28 years as a broadcast journalist. At SPR, he now develops strategic communication plans for his clients. He also is a member of the College of Mass Communication’s Board of Professional Advisers. You can watch a brief video of their talk here

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Sept. 13, 2011: The Hon. James A. Leach

DISCUSSING JOHN ADAMS — James “Jim” Leach, former 15-term congressman from Iowa and current chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, makes a point from the audience during a Sept. 13 panel discussion, “The Legacy of John Adams,” in the James E. Walker Library. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

NEH chairman keynotes Centennial Constitution Week at MTSU

MTSU celebrated the U.S. Constitution and civility on Sept. 13, 2011, with help from a very special guest: James A. Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Leach, a former 15-term U.S. congressman from Iowa, spoke on “Civility, the Constitution and the Courts” in the Wright Music Building.

Leach’s Centennial Constitution Day Distinguished Lecture, sponsored by MTSU’s American Democracy Project and the Distinguished Lecture Committee, was the keynote of MTSU’s Centennial Constitution Week, “Constitutional Responsibility and Civil Society,” Sept. 11-20. Leach also joined a panel discussion, “The Legacy of John Adams,” in the James E. Walker Library, which complemented the library’s NEH-grant-funded “John Adams: Unbound” exhibit, earlier in the day. You can watch video of Leach’s lecture here.

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Aug. 28, 2011: Dave Isay

LEARNING TO LISTEN — University Convocation speaker Dave Isay makes a point during his address Aug. 28 in MTSU’s Murphy Center. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Bestselling author tells students to live with courage

University Convocation speaker Dave Isay told a full house Sunday in Murphy Center that the stories we share with loved ones are much more interesting than the “nonsense we’re fed on cable TV and the news.” Isay is the author of Listening Is an Act of Love, national bestseller and MTSU’s 2011 Summer Reading Selection.

The University Convocation, which welcomes freshmen, transfer students and their families, is the traditional kickoff of the new academic year. This year’s Convocation also marked the beginning of MTSU’s 100th year.

Isay’s book encapsulates the largest U.S. oral-history project ever compiled and features stories from more than 10,000 interviews conducted by Isay’s StoryCorps organization. During his address, Isay played several audio and video interviews of stories from average Americans. “In these interviews you hear the real American story—stories of generosity, courage and grace,” Isay said. “Think about the people in your life whom you would like to honor. Take time to stop, listen and tell loved ones how much they mean to you. All of you can think of people in your lives who have sacrificed everything for you.” You can watch a brief video of the University Convocation, including a few comments by Isay, here.

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July 10, 2011: Jimmy Wayne

MEETING HALFWAY — Singer-songwriter Jimmy Wayne speaks to the Creativity in Education Conference assembly in the Tucker Theatre on the campus of MTSU. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Singer-songwriter details challenges, changes for teacher conference

Country singer-songwriter Jimmy Wayne served as featured speaker July 10, 2011, for the Create 2011: Creativity in Education Conference, hosted by MTSU and sponsored by the Tennessee Arts Commission. More than 400 K-12 educators listened as Wayne detailed his January-August 2010 cross-country walk from Nashville to Phoenix, the “Meet Me Halfway” campaign, to gain attention and support for foster children across America.

At MTSU, Wayne, who has topped the country charts with “Do You Believe Me Now” and recorded a successful cover of Hall and Oates’ classic “Sara Smile,” shared his personal story of childhood abuse and abandonment. Today he’s the national spokesman for Foster Club, a national network for children in foster care. The three-day conference at MTSU, the first of its kind in the state, provided professional-development opportunities and teaching examples for educators to strengthen their practice and improve their students’ performance. You can watch a video of Wayne’s performance here.

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April 12, 2011: Dr. Jan “Dr. G” Garavaglia

FORENSIC FACTS — Forensic pathologist Dr. Jan Garavaglia, focus of The Discovery Health Channel’s award-winning “Dr. G: Medical Examiner” show, makes a point during her April 12 lecture at MTSU. (MTSU photo courtesy College of Liberal Arts)

‘Dr. G’ brings forensic science to life

Forensic pathologist Dr. Jan Garavaglia’s talk, “Forensic Pathology: Fact and Fiction,” drew an enthusiastic crowd to Murphy Center on April 12, 2011. Listeners heard the Florida-based “Dr. G” explain how real-life forensic pathology differs from what’s shown on TV and discuss her book How Not to Die, which she authored to help educate the public on preventable death. Garavaglia’s visit was part of the William M. Bass Legends in Forensic Science Lectureship, a lecture series that brings respected lecturers in forensic science to MTSU each fall and spring. It was sponsored by MTSU’s Forensic Institute for Research and Education along with the MTSU Distinguished Lectures Committee; the College of Liberal Arts; the College of Basic and Applied Sciences; MTSU’s sociology and anthropology, biology and criminal-justice departments; and Phillips Bookstore.

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March 30, 2011: Actuarial science alumnus Tommy Axford

FINANCE CONSULTANT — MTSU alumnus Tommy Axford (B.S. ’04), center, accepts the Outstanding Actuarial Science Alumnus plaque after speaking to students in actuarial-science classes at MTSU March 30. Joining in the celebration are, from left, Dr. Don Hong, mathematical sciences professor and coordinator of the actuarial-science program at MTSU, and Dr. Don Nelson, chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences. (photo submitted)

Actuarial-science alumnus makes a stop

Tommy Axford, a 2004 graduate of MTSU’s actuarial-science program, stopped by MTSU on March 30, 2011, to speak to students at his alma mater. A consulting actuary of Bryan, Pendleton, Swats & McAllister LLC, a Wells Fargo company and Brentwood, Tenn.-based employee-benefits consulting firm, Axford told students about his career as an actuary and his personal experience with actuarial exams as well as sharing job-searching tips.

Axford was named a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries in 2010, and the MTSU Actuarial Student Association presented him with its Outstanding Actuarial Science Alumnus Award during his visit. Three of Axford’s fellow actuarial-science alumni—Mandy Lee Bratten (FSA 2011), John Edward Daniel (Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society 2004) and Dipiti Girish Patel (FSA 2010)—also were recognized for their accomplishments.

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March 25, 2011: Somaly Mam

PERSONAL JOURNEY — Anti-human-trafficking activist Somaly Mam greets attendees at her lecture for the MTSU Women’s and Gender Studies Program’s ninth biennial Interdisciplinary Conference in the Tom Jackson Building on March 25. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Mam outlines anti-human-trafficking efforts at conference

Internationally heralded anti-human-trafficking activist Somaly Mam spoke on “The Road to Lost Innocence: Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery—A Personal Journey” on March 25, 2011, as the keynote speaker for the MTSU Women’s and Gender Studies Program’s ninth biennial Interdisciplinary Conference. Born into extreme poverty in Cambodia, Mam was sold into slavery as a child and forced to work in a brothel, where she was tortured and raped daily.

After her best friend was murdered, Mam escaped and vowed to fight the underground economy that feeds on the brutal sexual exploitation of the vulnerable. In 2007, Mam established the Somaly Mam Foundation to support anti-trafficking organizations. She has won numerous awards, including the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation and the World Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child. In 2006, she was honored as a CNN Hero and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2009 by Time magazine.

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March 22, 2011: Angela Davis

HUMAN ISSUES — Social-justice advocate Angela Davis speaks to a full house in the Tennessee Room of MTSU’s James Union Building on March 22. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Davis provides NWHM keynote address

Social-justice advocate Angela Davis discussed a variety of topics, including prison reform, violence against women and exploitation of workers in Colombia, in her keynote address March 22, 2011, for MTSU’s observance of National Women’s History Month. Davis, whose dynamic speeches and embrace of controversial issues catapulted her into national prominence in the 1960s and 1970s, recently retired as Distinguished Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department and professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, after 15 years there. She was a Visiting Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and African-American Studies at Syracuse University last year.

During the last 25 years, Davis has lectured around the world and is the author of eight books, including Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete? Following her presentation, Davis signed books at a reception. Davis’ appearance at MTSU was sponsored by the National Women’s History Month Committee, the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, the Distinguished Lecture Fund, the Black History Month Committee, Women in Action, the American Democracy Project and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.

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March 21, 2011: U.S. Sen. Bob Corker

MAKING A POINT — U.S. Sen. Bob Corker gestures to indicate the rise of the nation’s debt crisis while discussing the proposed Commitment to American Prosperity Act, or CAP Act, in the SunTrust Room in MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building on March 21. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Corker says CAP Act can fix national-debt crisis

The national debt is the No. 1 threat to our country’s future, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker told an MTSU audience of economics students, faculty and area business leaders March 21, 2011. The Chattanooga Republican spent a weeklong recess from Capitol Hill traveling across Tennessee to explain the urgent need to reduce federal spending. His MTSU stop, coordinated by the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, featured a discussion in the SunTrust Room in the Business and Aerospace Building.

“We annually take in $2.2 trillion in the form of taxes and other revenue,” he told listeners, “but we spend $3.7 trillion. It doesn’t take a graduate student in economics to understand that’s a problem. Even if you took away all discretionary spending amounting to $1.3 trillion, you couldn’t balance the budget.” Corker added that the United States is “borrowing 40 cents for every dollar we spend, and 47 percent of what we borrow is debt held by China. Japan is the second-largest holder of our debt.”

In response, Corker and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, have proposed the Commitment to American Prosperity Act, or CAP Act, to “put a fiscal straitjacket on Washington,” he said. If the bill becomes law, the CAP Act will establish federal spending limits beginning in 2013 that will be gradually reduced over 10 years. If spending appears to be exceeding the CAP Act-designated amount for that year, the Office of Management and Budget will sequester funds from all federal accounts, including entitlement programs, to bring spending back down.

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March 17, 2011: Dr. Gary Namie

TAKING A STAND — Dr. Gary Namie, nationally recognized expert on bullying, speaks at MTSU during a daylong visit March 17. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

‘Take a Stand: Stop Bullying’

Workplace-bullying expert Dr. Gary Namie visited MTSU on March 17, 2011, first speaking to three classes led by Dr. Kathy Hemby-Grubb and Dr. David Foote in the College of Business and Dr. Charlene True in the College of Education. Namie then spoke to a larger audience that evening in the State Farm Room of the Business and Aerospace Building on “Take a Stand: Stop Bullying.”

Namie directs a national network of citizen lobbyists, which is working to pass into law the anti-bullying Healthy Workplace Bill. He taught the nation’s first university course on workplace bullying and was an expert witness in the nation’s first “bullying trial” in Indiana. The event was sponsored by the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Series and the Jennings A. Jones College of Business. Namie was the guest of Dr. Jackie Gilbert, a professor in the college’s Department of Management and Marketing.

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March 15, 2011: Musician Béla Fleck

PLENTY TO DISCUSS — Becky Windham, left, daughter of Windham Lecture Series in Liberal Arts founders William and Westy Windham, talks with Grammy-winning musician Béla Fleck March 15 after his visit to MTSU for the 20th annual Windham Lecture. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

‘A Conversation with Béla Fleck’

Approximately 700 people attended “A Conversation with Béla Fleck” in Tucker Theatre March 15, 2011, where the renowned banjoist performed several musical pieces and talked with the audience. Fleck received his 14th Grammy Award, the “Best Contemporary World Music Album” for “Throw Down Your Heart, Africa Sessions Part 2: Unreleased Tracks,” in February. The release was his second stemming from a 2005 pilgrimage to Africa to learn about the banjo’s origins.

Fleck and his band, the Flecktones, plan a stop at Bonnaroo 2011 in Manchester, Tenn., on Friday, June 10, and in the midst of tour preparations and countless side projects, Fleck also is working on his first standalone banjo concerto, commissioned by the Nashville Symphony, which is set for a September premiere.

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March 1, 2011: State Sen. Andy Berke

TALKING POINTS — Adjunct political-science professor Kent Syler listens as state Sen. Andy Berke (D-Chattanooga), right, speaks to Syler’s class during an MTSU visit March 1. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Legislator discusses role, current topics

At the invitation of Kent Syler, political-science adjunct faculty member at MTSU, state Sen. Andy Berke (D-Chattanooga) addressed students in the Political Campaign Management class on March 1, 2011, in Peck Hall. Berke, who represents Hamilton and Marion counties for District 10, reflected on his role as a state senator, citing the full spectrum of situations he encounters on a daily basis. He also touched on current legislation and answered students’ questions.

Syler introduced Berke to Department Chair Stephen Morris before they toured MTSU’s science facilities and the Albert Gore Sr. Research Center. Joining Berke on the visit was Sam Neel, his lone staff member and son of former sports writer-turned political publicist/adviser Roy Neel. An attorney and the married father of two daughters, Berke has served in the 105th through 107th General Assemblies and is secretary/treasurer of the Senate Democratic Caucus and a member of the Senate Education and Transportation Committees.

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Feb. 14, 2011: Civil-rights attorney Fred Gray

LIVING HISTORY — Civil-rights attorney Fred Gray speaks at MTSU’s Wright Music Building Feb. 14 during a special appearance for Black History Month. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Agent of change says civil-rights work still ahead

Attorney Fred Gray spoke to a nearly full house in Hinton Hall of MTSU’s Wright Music Building on Feb. 14, 2011. Gray served as counsel to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks and was also the lead attorney in the lawsuit filed on behalf of the survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. The suit, filed in 1973 against the federal government, was settled out of court for $10 million and helped reform human-experimentation regulations in the United States.

During his speech, Gray addressed the early days of segregation and how they compare to today’s era of civil rights, noting that while conditions are better today, he believes there is work still to be done in assuring equal rights for people of all races and ethnic backgrounds. As a young man, Gray said, he had a vision of how things should be, but he told the audience that he was forced to keep that vision to himself for years because it wasn’t a vision shared by many others. Gray was a guest of the MTSU Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center, the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership and MTSU Black History Month.

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Feb. 10, 2011: Wall Street Journal writer Stephen Moore

ECONOMIC STATUS — Stephen Moore, right, senior economic writer for The Wall Street Journal, chats with MTSU student Mousa Abuqayas before Moore’s Feb. 10 lecture as a guest of the Pam Wright Chair of Entrepreneurship in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

‘All of you will see the most amazing future’

Stephen Moore, senior economic writer for The Wall Street Journal and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd Feb. 10, 2011, in MTSU’s State Farm Lecture Hall. Moore addressed the current economic climate, telling the audience that he believes the U.S. government is doing everything to suppress economic growth and prosperity.

Admitting to being a staunch conservative, Moore had harsh words for both Republicans and Democrats for their past performance in creating jobs and spurring the economy. Moore said the two areas where costs have skyrocketed include health care and education, both of which he said essentially are run by the government. In spite of some doom and gloom in his remarks regarding today’s economic climate, Moore told his college audience, “All of you will see the most amazing future. The changes that will happen over the next five, 10 or 50 years are going to be unthinkable.”

Moore’s appearance was sponsored by the Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU, the Pam Wright Chair of Entrepreneurship and the Young Americas Foundation.

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