Forum Series

hosted by the Gordy Honors College



 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. 


Spring 2022

January 20
6 p.m.


Dr. Andrew Nguyen

Assistant Professor of Psychology, MUW

Stealing Thunder: A Damage Mitigation Tactic for When You've Done Something Wrong

Dr. Nguyen's research is in the ares of communication, relationships, and social influence, with a current focus on damage control and attitude assessment.


February 17
6 p.m.

Pruitt Possum Town

Dr. Berkley Hudson

Associate Professor Emeritus, Missouri School of Journalism

O.N. Pruitt's Possum Town

Hudson will discuss the photographs of O.N. Pruitt, a white man in a racially segregated society who recorded community celebrations as well as troubling violence from 1915 to 1960 in Columbus, Mississippi. Hudson has authored a new book presenting Pruitt’s photographs to accompany a multimedia exhibition of Pruitt's work at the Columbus Arts Council, Mr. Pruitt’s Possum Town: Trouble and Resilience in the American Southrunning February 3-April 23. Pruitt's work is distinguished from others of his time by his diligent and prolific depictions of the joys and sorrows of everyday people—both Black and white—in his hometown of Columbus, locally referred to as “Possum Town.”


April 7
7 p.m.

Nell Peel Wolfe Lecture Series


Dr. Harriet Pollack

Eudora Welty Scholar

Black and White: Racial Representation in the Photography of Eudora Welty

Pollack is author of Eudora Welty’s Fiction and Photography: The Body of the Other Woman; editor of the book series Critical Perspectives on Eudora Welty (University Press of Mississippi), including the first book in the series, New Essays on Eudora Welty, Class, and Race; and editor or co-editor of four other volumes, including Eudora Welty and Politics: Did the Writer Crusade? and Emmett Till in Literary Memory and Imagination.


April 19

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part I)

April 21

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part II)


Previous Events

Fall 2021

August 26
6 p.m.


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

As we look ahead to a loosening of travel restrictions, Study Abroad Coordinator Erinn Holloway and students who have lived and studied abroad or elsewhere in the U.S. will discuss all the benefits and logistics of study abroad and away.


September 9
6 p.m.

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Film: Orchestrating Change

cosponsored by The MUW Counseling Center

and in support of National Suicide Prevention Week

Orchestrating Change tells the story of Me2/Orchestra, created by and for people living with mental illness and working to erase stigmatization through the creation of beautiful music, community, and understanding. The film addresses many of the myths about mental illness by showing what living with a mental illness is really like—with both setbacks and accomplishments—and challenges audiences to reconsider their preconceived notions. For those living with a diagnosis, it is empowering. Discussion of the film will be led by staff of The MUW Counseling Center.


September 23
6 p.m.


Food Justice

Kritika Gupta

cosponsored by The W Leadership Program

Kritika Gupta is a TEDx Speaker, Ph.D. student, and Graduate Assistant in the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management at the University of Mississippi. In her home country India, she won numerous academic and public service awards and was a regular guest speaker on All India Radio. She is a passionate advocate for food justice and will discuss food insecurity, the right to food, and the current status of the Sustainable Development Goals for ending hunger and achieving food security. The Honors College and The W Leadership Program will also conduct a food drive in conjunction with this event. 


October 7
6 p.m.


a Common Reading Initiative event

A Conversation on Reform in the Criminal Justice System

Scott Colom, District Attorney, 16th District Court of Mississippi

Dorothy Colom, retired Judge, 14th Chancery District of Mississippi

In 2011, Scott Colom was appointed the youngest and first African American justice court judge in Lowndes County history and in 2015 he was elected district attorney for Circuit Court District Sixteen, becoming the first African American DA for the district and the first African American elected DA in a majority white district. His mother Dorothy Colom served as judge for Mississippi’s 14th Chancery District for 24 years, the first African American to serve in that role. Their conversations is in conjunction with our Common Read of Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, which chronicles his coming of age as he defends the wrongfully convicted and others caught in the farthest reaches of the criminal justice system. The Coloms will draw on their own experiences to connect to Stevenson’s story and suggest some smart ways the criminal justice system can be improved.


November 11

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part I)

November 18

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part II)


Spring 2021

February 18
6 p.m.

cecy brooks2020

Loosing Cents: Exploring the Role of Alternative Financial Services Among College Students

Dr. Cecy Brooks

Visiting Assistant Professor of Family Science, MUW

Dr. Brooks will discuss her research on college students’ use of alternative financial services such as selling personal property online or using payday loans or check cashing facilities. Because some college students receive lump sum financial aid payments or work intermittently, the convenience and ease of use of alternative financial services make them viable options. However, the convenience and ease of use could actually lower the long-term financial well-being of college students. Dr. Brooks will also discuss how young adults form financial habits and the importance of identifying financial barriers and opportunities for future well-being.


March 4
6 p.m.

Nell Peel Wolfe Lecture


Ben Raines, Environmental Journalist and Filmmaker

Author of Saving America's Amazon: The Threat to Our Nation’s Most Biodiverse River System

Raines has won more than two dozen awards for his coverage of environmental issues and natural wonders. He wrote and directed The Underwater Forest, an award-winning film about a 70,000-year-old cypress forest found off the Alabama coast. He also wrote and produced the America’s Amazon, aired on PBS stations around the country. His underwater film work has appeared on the Discovery Channel and National Geographic TV. He is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in filmmaking and is a Coast Guard-licensed captain, giving tours of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and Alabama’s barrier islands.


March 25
6 p.m.


The Asylum Hill Cemetery Project

Dr. Ralph Didlake

Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer, University of Mississippi Medical Center; Visiting Professor of Surgery and Director, UMMC Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities

The Mississippi Insane Asylum operated in Jackson 1855-1935. During this period, a cemetery was maintained on the asylum grounds in which several thousand deceased patients were interred. This location is now occupied by the University of Mississippi Medical Center, for which mission-critical needs have raised numerous administrative, ethical, cultural, and practical challenges in the long-term management of these burial sites. Dr. Didlake will discuss the history of the asylum and a proposal to memorialize those buried in the Asylum Hill Cemetery in a manner that also creates a research and education resource.


April 8

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part I)

April 15

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part II)


Spring 2020

January 30

 Garrett Scott

Black Women and the Suffrage Movement in Mississippi, 1863-1965

Dr. Shennette Garrett-Scott

Associate Professor of History and African American Studies, University of Mississippi

Dr. Garrett-Scott will discuss the ways that Black women in Mississippi actively participated in the suffrage movement after the Civil War. They fought for women’s suffrage even as they supported Black men and passage of the 15th Amendment. With passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920, Black women could not claim victory. It would take another forty years before they could exercise the right to vote. This presentation provides an overview of the 100-year-fight by Black women in Mississippi to maintain their place in public political discourse, from the Civil War to passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Dr. Garrett-Scott is author of Banking on Freedom: Black Women in U.S. Finance Before the New Deal (Columbia University Press, 2019), the first full-length history of finance capitalism that centers black women and the banking institutions and networks they built from the eve of the Civil War to the Great Depression. 


February 27

Onyeagucha 2019

Dr. Benjamin Onyeagucha

Assistant Professor of Biology, Mississippi University for Women 

Dr. Onyeagucha’s research focuses on identifying and characterizing biomarkers and molecular drivers in cancer for the purpose of developing novel therapeutic strategies for breast cancer patients. Students in Dr. Onyeagucha's lab learn both basic and translational techniques while utilizing interdisciplinary approaches in biomedical sciences. 


April 16

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part I)


April 23

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part II)


Fall 2019 

August 29

What's Wrong with Disabilities?

Dr. Josh Dohmen

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, MUW

Dr. Dohmen will discuss how disabilities come to be, interactions between disabled and non-disabled persons, and some ethical and epistemic considerations that arise from these interactions. Dr. Dohmen is author of “‘A Little of Her Language’: Epistemic Injustice and Mental Disability,” which won the 2016 Essay Prize from Res Philosophica, and of “Disability as Abject: Kristeva, Disability, and Resistance," which appeared in Hypatia.


September 12


Is It Really OK to Die?

Debra Rhinewalt, RN, BSN, CHPN

Director, Council on Nursing Practice, Mississippi Nurses' Association 

Palliative Care Clinical Coordinator, Baptist Memorial Hospital Golden Triangle

Co-Sponsored by the College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Rhinewalt will discuss palliative care—what it is and isn’t—and the decisions patients and their families must make about goals of care and quality of life when dealing with serious or terminal diagnoses. This event is in conjunction with The W's 2019-20 Common Reading Initiative focus on When Breath Becomes Air, neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi's memoir about living with a terminal illness after being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 36​.  


September 26

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How to Develop Leadership Skills through Volunteerism

Dr. Sarah Petschonek 

Founder and CEO, Volunteer Odyssey

Dr. Petschonek founded Volunteer Odyssey after completing her project Mission Memphis: 30 Consecutive Days Volunteering with 30 Non-Profits, chronicled on her blog, Confessions of a Volunteer, and conducting a cross-country volunteer tour researching volunteerism in nine U.S. cities from Portland, Oregon, to Jacksonville, Florida. Volunteer Odyssey now links volunteers to opportunities with 60+ nonprofits throughout Memphis. Petschonek was named as one of Memphis Flyer’s 20 Under 30 and American Express’ 50 Under 40 Social Entrepreneurs.


October 24

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

The Forum Series' annual focus on study abroad and away will focus on the question: In the high-impact educational combination of travel and study, what are the greatest lessons to be learned? Students who studied in Spain and Scotland and faculty will give their answers. The event will also include a preview of upcoming study abroad and away programs.

November 21

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part I)

December 5

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part II)