Gordy Honors College Forum Series



The W's Ina E. Gordy Honors College presents the Forum Series each semester, hosting national, regional, and local speakers and offering films and other special presentations.  All university faculty and students are invited, and all events are free and open to the public.  

All events begin at 6 p.m. and are held in Nissan Auditorium.


Spring 2019 

February 14


Film Screening: Death by Design: The Dirty Secret of Our Digital Addiction

Consumers love their smartphones, tablets, and laptops. By 2020, five billion people will own a mobile phone and four billion will have a personal computer. But this revolution has a dark side most consumers don’t see. In an investigation that takes her around the world, filmmaker Sue Williams investigates the underbelly of the electronics industry and tells a story of environmental degradation, health tragedies, and the unsustainability of consumerism.


February 28


Dr. Travis Hagey

Assistant Professor of Biology, MUW

Dr. Hagey will discuss his work on the biomechanics, evolution, and ecology of gecko lizards, with special attention to their adhesive toes, and more generally how animal performance works and why animals are built the way they are. He will also discuss his science education outreach to K-12 students, museums, and the general public. He has published numerous studies of gecko species and animal performance and was a Science Communication Postdoctoral Fellow at the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action at Michigan State University before coming to MUW in 2018.


March 21

Dr. Rachel Allison

Assistant Professor of Sociology, Mississippi State University

author, Kicking Center: Gender and the Selling of Women's Professional Soccer

a Women’s History Month event

In spite of recent progress for women’s soccer, gender disparities in opportunity, compensation, training resources, and media airtime continue, and since 2000, two professional leagues for women have started up and folded. In Kicking Center, Dr. Allison analyzes the complexities of striving to break into male-dominated U.S. professional sport and the challenges and opportunities in selling and marketing women’s soccer.


March 28

Nell Peel Wolfe Lecture

Tracy Crow

editor, It's My Country Too: Women's Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan

author, Eyes Right: Confessions from a Woman Marine and three other books

Crow is a former Marine Corps officer and President/CEO of the community arts foundation Milspeak, which supports the creative endeavors of military servicemembers, veterans, and their families.  She will discuss her own and American women’s experience in the military and what it means to tell one’s own story. Barnes & Noble will offer her books for sale in the Hogarth Student Center and at the event. 


April 11

Poetry Reading and Conversation

Kris Lee

Assistant Professor of English, MUW

author, To Square a Circle

C.T. Salazar

Graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing Program, MUW

author, This Might Have Meant Fire

in celebration of National Poetry Month 


April 25

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part I)


May 2

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part II)


Previous Events:

Fall 2018

August 30

Nicole Marquez

Dancer and Actress 

co-sponsored by The W Leadership Program and The W's Audacity Dance Team and Dancing Diamonds

Having worked in television and radio since her teens and after completing a degree in theatre, Marquez was a 25-year-old aspiring dancer and actress in New York City when a devastating fall from the sixth-floor roof of her apartment building changed everything. Undaunted by the possibility of never walking again, she persevered through seven months of intensive therapy to walk out of the hospital—and eventually to dance again. A native Mississippian, Marquez returns home to tell her story of hope and determination.


September 13


Liza Slutskaya

Filmmaker, A Disrupted System: Alabama’s Disappearing Barrier Island 

Slutskaya will screen and discuss her film A Disrupted System: Alabama’s Disappearing Barrier Island, which explores the erosion of Dauphin Island due to dredging in Mobile Harbor. In her first film Good Housekeeping, she explored the burden of utility costs for low-income communities in Alabama. She received her degree in Anthropology and Film production at Johns Hopkins University and has been both a Fellow and Program Coordinator in the Southern Exposure Film Fellowship program.


September 27

Study Abroad and Away: MUW's Passport to the World

Student Presentations and Panel Discussion

Students who studied in Peru in summer 2018 will discuss their experience, faculty will preview programs they will lead in 2019, and Study Abroad Coordinator Erinn Holloway and a panel of students and faculty will discuss the benefits of studying abroad and away.


October 18

Steve Yarbrough

Keynote, Welty Writers' Symposium (7:30 p.m., Poindexter Hall)

The Forum Series joins forces with the Welty Writers' Symposium as Steve Yarbrough reads from The Unmade World, his seventh novel. Yarbrough has received many awards for his fiction, including the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction, the Richard Wright Award, and the Robert Penn Warren Award. 


November 1


Dr. Redell Hearn

Curator of Art & Civil Rights, Tougaloo College and the Mississippi Museum of Art

Hearn will discuss Mississippi initiatives exploring the role of art in the Civil Rights Movement. A Fulbright Specialist in Museum Studies and founding director of the first graduate museum studies program in Louisiana, she has also taught Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins University. As a museum consultant, she has worked with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, among others.


November 15


Dr. Brandy T. Wilson

Author, The Palace Blues

Assistant Professor of English, MUW

Wilson is the author of the novel The Palace Blues, a Lambda Literary Award Finalist in Lesbian Fiction and winner of the Alice B. Readers Lavender Award. A Lambda Literary Retreat Emerging LGBT Voices Fellow in fiction and recipient of three Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference scholarships, she has also published short fiction in G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Raised in the South), Sinister Wisdom, and many others. She is Assistant Professor of English at MUW.


November 29

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part I)


December 6

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part II)



Previous Events:

Spring 2018

January 18

Dr. Alison Collis Greene

Associate Professor of History, Mississippi State University 

“Nobody Is Starving in America”? Religion and the Great Depression in Memphis and the Delta 

A historian of American religions and the twentieth century U.S., Greene is author of No Depression in Heaven: The Great, Depression, the New Deal, and the Transformation of Religion in the Delta (Oxford University Press, 2016), in which she explores the ways the Great Depression remade American religion just as it did the nation’s politics and social order.  No Depression in Heaven was named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title and was awarded the Charles S. Sydnor Award from the Southern Historical Association.

February 1


Dr. Ashley White

Assistant Professor of Health Education, MUW

Black Bruthas from the Margin: Race, Health, Poetry, and the Po-Po

White explores barriers to the use of health services among men ages of 18-34 in Quitman County, a rural area in the Mississippi Delta. She provides poetic voices to the men she has interviewed and points to sustainable, culturally appropriate programs to increase African American men’s engagement in the healthcare system.  Before receiving her PhD at University of Alabama and joining the MUW faculty, she worked with the Central Mississippi Area Health Education Center; i-Think Group, a public health and health policy consulting firm in Jackson; and the Mississippi State Department of Health Personal Responsibility and Education Program (PREP). 


February 15

Cedric Strudevant

Project Manager, The SPOT (Safe Place Over Time), Jackson Medical Mall

Sturdevant has been working in the field of HIV prevention, education, and awareness for a decade. At the Jackson Medical Mall and with AIDSWatch Mississippi, he works with HIV-positive people to gain access to the care they need and advocate for themselves and others. Previously a Project Coordinator with My Brother’s Keeper, Sturdevant was featured in the film Deepsouth, about individuals living with HIV in Mississippi and surrounding states, and most recently in The New York Times


March 1

Film Screening

Look and See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry

Look and See explores the work of writer Wendell Berry, one of America’s most passionate and eloquent voices defending sustainable farming, local economies, and rootedness to place against the encroachment of industrial agriculture. Filmed in the rolling hills of Henry County, Kentucky, where Berry has lived and farmed since the mid-1960s, the film weaves Berry’s own words with gorgeous cinematography and the testimonies of his family and neighbors.  Directed by Laura Dunn and produced by Robert Redford, Terrence Malick, and Nick Offerman, it premiered in March 2016 at the SXSW Film Festival. 


March 22

Nell Peel Wolfe Lecture

John T. Edge

Award-Winning Author of The Pot Likker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South (2017)

According to The New Republic, in his latest book The Potlikker Papers, John T. Edge “shows that we aren’t just what we eat; we are where that food was grown, how it was cooked, who cooked it, and who all gets to eat it with us.”  Director of the Southern Foodways Alliance, Edge has authored four other books, received the James Beard Foundation’s M.F.K. Fisher Distinguished Writing Award, and been chosen ten times for the Best Food Writing Anthology.  He has contributed to Garden & Gun, The Oxford AmericanSouthern Living, and the weekend edition of NPR's All Things Considered


April 5

Dr. Ann Fletchall

Visiting Assistant Professor of Geography, MUW

Dr. Fletchall discussed the importance of craft breweries to community and place.  Focusing on breweries in Denver and rural Montana and applying this research to the increasing numbers of breweries across the country, she explores how they help build state and local identity and provide visitors with a sense of connection to place and more authentic experience of community.  


April 19

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part I)

April 26

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part II)