To assist in the national effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, The University of Southern Mississippi will hold the fall 2020 University Forum entirely online. All events will be hosted on Cisco Webex and login information will be posted at this website. Forum can be accessed through your web browser or you can download the Cisco Webex Meetings program to your computer.
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 with an easy-to-use link before each event. To register to receive an email reminder, please complete our registration form.
Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Archbishop Desmund Tutu, is a human rights activist. Her activism and outreach draws inspiration from the challenges of growing up black and female in apartheid South Africa and explores the negative outcomes of hate and division. Currently, Rev. Tutu is the Missioner for Racial and Economic Equity at the Cathedral of All Souls in Asheville, NC and the founder of Nozizwe Consulting. The recipient of four honorary doctorates, her work focuses on bringing people of different backgrounds together to acknowledge and celebrate their shared humanity.
Paul Tough writes about education. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character and, most recently, The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us. In The Years That Matter Most, Tough exposes “hidden truths” about colleges and universities and raises questions about whether higher education offers the same opportunities for rich and poor kids. Tough is a contributing editor at the New York Times Magazine and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, GQ, and Esquire, He has also served as a reporter and producer for public radio program, “This American Life.”
James Forman, Jr., is a Professor at Yale Law School. He is a leading critic of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color in the United States. His Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, looks at the war on crime in the 1970s and the Black mayors, judges, and police chiefs who took office during a period of rising crime, their tough-on-crime measures, and the effect of these policies on poor Black neighborhoods. Before joining the faculty at Yale, Forman clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner and was a public defender in Washington, D.C. His work as a public defender led him to start the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, an alternative school for youth offenders and school dropouts. He is the son of Civil Rights activist James Forman and grandson of author, activist and University Forum guest Jessica Mitford.
Marjorie Spruill is a historian acclaimed for her work on the American women’s rights movement. Her book, New Women of the New South: The Woman Suffrage Movement in the Southern States, explores the lives of eleven of the most prominent leaders of the women’s suffrage movement in the South and their views on race and states’ rights. Her most recent book, Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women’s Rights, delves into the rise of the modern women’s rights movement in the 1970s and the way it contributed to the polarization of American politics. Dr. Spruill is a former Southern Miss history professor and served as the University Forum director from 1986 to 2000. Dr. Spruill is professor emeritus at the University of South Carolina.