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 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)


Previous Events

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)


Previous Events:

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

SarahVolunteering small

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 10

klaymon sm

Kiese Laymon

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

The Forum Series supports the Welty Writers' Symposium as Kiese Laymon reads from Heavy: An American Memoir, winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction, the LA Times Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, and a Barnes and Noble Discover Award and named one of the Best Books of 2018 by the The New York TimesPublishers Weekly, NPR, Library JournalThe Washington PostSouthern LivingEntertainment WeeklySan Francisco Chronicle, and The New York Times Critics.


October 24

62454870 2384535245148843 8089497114477854720 n 

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 7

no exit

No Exit

The Forum Series joins The W's Department of Theatre for their production of Jean-Paul Sartre's 1944 existentialist play No Exit, in which three deceased characters are punished by being locked into a room together for eternity, becoming mirrors for each other's darkest secrets.


November 21

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part I)

December 5

Gordy Honors College Undergraduate Research Symposium (Part II)


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)