On Sept. 27, the Shakouls Honors College at Mississippi State University premiered its educational lecture series "The Orators."

This program is set to run for the entire 2018-2019 school year, and its purpose is to draw in speakers who partake in various campus disciplines and can cover topics to engage students and faculty alike.

Since the Honors College links together all colleges and departments of MSU’s campus, each school year will have a specific theme. The theme for this school year is "Searching for Self: Who Am I Anyway?" This theme will have three subtopics with a lecture to go with each, and will showcase noted humanities scholars and activities to give learning opportunities for students, faculty and the community. These subtopics include "A Look from the Past," "In the Pursuit of 'Happyness'" and "Matters of Self." Each of these lectures will be held in Griffis Hall’s Forum Room 401. "In the Pursuit of 'Happyness'" will be held Nov. 14, and "Matters of Self" will be held Feb. 20, both starting at 2 p.m.

"The Orators" program is open to all, as the goal of "The Orators" program is to stimulate research and discussion within campus and throughout the surrounding community.

"The Orators" program was made possible through a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, which was supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The first lecture, "A Look from the Past," was held on Sept. 27 as part of Classical Week. 

There were two guest speakers, Norma Thompson of Yale University and Stephen Esposito of Boston University.

Thompson and Esposito spoke about Sophocles' play "Oedipus the King," each with different key discussion points. This lecture related to the Shakouls Honors College’s annual Classical Week, where members of the honors college performed "Oedipus the King" in Griffis Hall on Sept. 25 and 26.

The second lecture, "In the Pursuit of ‘Happyness,'" will be held Nov. 14 with guest speaker Corey L. M. Keyes of Emory University. The third and final lecture of the year, "Matters of Self," will be on Feb. 20 as part of Black History Month with guest speaker Melvin L. Rogers of Brown University.  

Audience members will have the opportunity to listen in on noted scholars as they present information related to the topic of the lecture. There will also be time set aside for questions and comments at the end of each lecture.

Anna-Beth Loper, MSU Shakouls Honors College student, said she is glad these lectures are available on campus, since they provide students with important information and opportunities to grow.

"I feel like it benefits me because it gives me advice that isn’t always college advice. It’s life advice," Loper said.

Donna Clevinger, senior faculty at MSU and a communication professor, said she was happy with her selection of "Oedipus" for Classical Week and equally happy to help direct the performance.

"It was time to do a tragedy, and I hadn’t done 'Oedipus,'" Clevinger said. "I thought that it would be beneficial for the students of the Honors College."

Clevinger said she hopes students who attend "The Orators" program will find information, truth and learning.  

"Oedipus was a good way to go with the theme of 'The Orators' program and with Classical Week," Clevinger said. 

For more information on the Shakouls Honors College or "The Orators," contact Donna Clevinger at (662) 325-2522.

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