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Honors College

University Forum Speaker Schedule

All 2022-23 Forum events are being held in person on the Hattiesburg campus.  Please scroll down to learn more about our speakers.

During Forum events, a link to a livestream broadcast of the event will follow the speaker’s bio. We provide livestreams of Forum events as a courtesy; unfortunately, we cannot guarantee the quality of the livestream and cannot take questions from the online audience. If you are a student and your instructor requires proof of attendance, you must attend the live event to have your attendance recorded.

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Registration is not required and all Forum events are free and open to the public. We are happy, however, to send you a reminder email (that will include an easy-to-use link to attend virtually). 


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Spring 2023 Speaker Schedule

Talithia WilliamsTalithia Williams

February 7, 2023
6:30 p.m.
Bennett Auditorium

Data, Health, and Change

Talithia Williams, an associate professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College, has degrees from Spelman College, Howard University, and Rice University. Her research involves creating statistical models that emphasize the spatial and temporal structure of data and applying these models to problems in the environment. She has worked at NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the National Security Agency and as a research partner to the World Health Organization, but she is best known for a TED talk, “Own Your Body’s Data,” which argues that simple data about our bodies can help us better understand our health. She is the author of Learning Statistics (2017) and Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of MathematicsWilliams is also a co-host of the PBS NOVA series “NOVA Wonders,” and is the 2015 recipient of the Mathematical Association of America’s Henry L. Alder Award for Distinguished Teaching.


Roxane GayRoxane Gay

March 21, 2023
6:30 p.m.
Bennett Auditorium

An Evening with Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is the New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist and a widely followed social commentator. Bad Feminist, described by the Guardian as “a manual on how to be human,” is considered a quintessential study of modern feminism. It was followed by books such as Difficult Women, a collection of short stories, and Hunger, a memoir about food, weight, and Gay’s struggle to embrace a positive image of her body following childhood sexual abuse. Gay is the winner of two Lambda Literary awards, recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, and was named on Queerty’s list of fifty heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people." Gay was the first black woman to lead a Marvel title, writing a comic series in the Black Panther universe called World of Wakanda. She is a contributing opinion writer at The New York Times, writes a newsletter, “The Audacity,” and hosts a podcast, “The Roxane Gay Agenda.”


Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman

April 18, 2023
6:30 p.m.
Bennett Auditorium

Probable Impossibilities

Alan Lightman is an astrophysicist and writer of both non-fiction and fiction, whose work explores how we understand our place in the universe. In his scientific work, Lightman has made contributions to the theory of astrophysical processes under extreme temperatures and densities. In his philosophical works, he “aims,” as the New York Times said in a review of The Accidental Universe, “to ignite a sense of wonder in any reader who’s ever pondered the universe, our world, and the nature of human consciousness.” In his novels, he combines science and philosophy. Einstein’s Dreamsexplores our relationship to timeThe Diagnosis considers American’s obsession with information and speed; Mr g is the story of creation as narrated by God. His most recent book Probable Impossibilities is a collection of meditative essays on the possibilities of nothingness and infinity. He is a Professor of Practice of the Humanities at MIT, recipient of six honorary degrees, and winner of countless awards, both literary and scholarly.

Alan Lightman live stream

Fall 2022 Speaker Schedule

G. Willow WilsonG. Willow Wilson

September 13, 2022
6:30 p.m.
Bennett Auditorium

Religious Diversity and Mass Culture

Willow Wilson is an American writer best known for co-creating Kamala Khan, the first Muslim character to headline her own comic book. The new Ms. Marvel debuted in 2014, was a hit, and this summer Disney+ launched a critically acclaimed television series based on the comic. Wilson’s literary career took off in 2010 with the publication of Butterfly Mosque, an account of her conversion to Islam and life in Cairo, which the Seattle Times named the best non-fiction book of 2010. Since then, she has published two award-winning novels, The Bird King, named Amazon’s Best Book of the Month, and Alif the Unseen, winner of a World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. In addition, she has collaborated on numerous graphic novels and comic series. 


Kwame Anthony AppiahKwame Anthony Appiah

October 11, 2022
6:30 p.m.
Bennett Auditorium

Honor, Morality, and Revolution

Kwame Anthony Appiah thinks about how morality and identity shape our lives. He has written more than 20 books, both fiction and non-fiction, including Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers and The Lies That Bind. Cosmopolitanism argues against the view that the world is divided among warring creeds and cultures, emphasizing instead the powerful ties that connect people across religions and nations. The Lies That Bind challenges assumptions about how identities work, transforming the way we think about who and what “we” are. His most recent scholarship explores the moral life, the ways we think about religion, and the changing nature of work. In 2010 President Obama presented Appiah with the National Humanities Medal and in 2022 he was elected President of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Appiah is a Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University and currently pens the “Ethicist” column in the New York Times Sunday Magazine.


Frances LeeFrances Lee

November 15, 2022
6:30 p.m.
Thad Cochran Ballroom

Congressional Policymaking in a Fiercely Competitive Era

Frances Lee is a Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University. After graduating with honors from The University of Southern Mississippi in 1991, Lee completed a Ph.D. in political science at Vanderbilt University. Her work explores how the United States Congress works and how it often fails. Her 2016 book, Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign, demonstrates that Congress is least effective when the parties are well balanced. She is the author of numerous other works including Beyond Ideology: Politics, Principles, and Partisanship in the U.S. Senate and articles in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Perspectives on Politics, and Legislative Studies Quarterly. The New York Times’ Ezra Klein claimed that Lee’s scholarship has “genuinely change[d] my understanding of how American politics works.” 


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