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W's Gordy Honors College to host a Titan, Olympic medalist and more


MUW University Relations



From the coach who inspired the movie "Remember the Titans" to an Olympian swimmer, the Gordy Honors College Forum Series at Mississippi University for Women will present a spring of outstanding public lectures, film and undergraduate research.  


"We're pleased that the Forum Series continues to be one of the premier lecture series in the state," said Dr. Thomas G. Velek, director of the Gordy Honors College.  


Velek will open the series Jan. 23 with a presentation titled "Lessons from an Obsession: Athletics and the Life Well Lived." His will be the first in a Forum Series whose theme is tied to The W's potential return to intercollegiate athletics and explores the importance of athletics for the individual and American society. 


Velek's 6 p.m. presentation in Nissan Auditorium of Parkinson Hall will reflect on the role sports has had in his life from little league baseball to college wrestling, a journey that has led him to coaching and being honored in 2013 as National Boys Soccer Coach of the Year by U.S. Soccer.  


In addition, the presentation asks the question, "why are sports so important to us?" "I am fascinated by our culture's obsession with sports and like investigating the roots of that obsession," Velek commented. 




Remembering the Titans, Feb. 6 and 13 


On Feb. 6, the series begins a two-part examination of race in American sports. The film "Remember the Titans" will be screened that evening at 6 p.m. in Nissan Auditorium. The screening will be followed by discussion of the film. 


The series will welcome special guest Coach Herman Boone Feb. 13. Boone was appointed head football coach at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., at the time the school district integrated its schools. His appointment over the popular white coach Bill Yoast caused dissention within the community. The story of how Boone and Yoast overcame those differences and led T.C. Williams to the state championship was the inspiration for the film "Remember the Titans." 


Boone's presentation is titled "Remembering the Titans; Coaching Success." The 6 p.m. presentation will be held in the Limbert Assembly Room in Cochran Hall. 




Women in sports, March 6  


The Forum Series continues March 6 with Dr. Katharine Kittredge's presentation, "My So-Called Sporting Life: What Women Can Gain (and Lose) from Playing Sports." Dr. Kittredge, a professor of English, will travel from Ithaca College in New York to present at The W. Kittredge describes herself as a "pre-Title 9 athlete" who had to fight for a chance to play sports in college. Her 6 p.m. presentation will be held in Poindexter Hall. 




Olympic success, March 27 


On March 27, the series presents the second annual Nell Wolfe Peel Lecture when it welcomes Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard to Columbus. Beard is a three-time Olympian and seven-time medal winner. She is a former world record holder in the 200-meter breaststroke (long course). Beard's success has earned her the American Swimmer of the Year Award twice. Since retiring from competitive swimming, Beard has worked extensively in modeling and advertising, and authored the book "In the Water They Can't See You Cry." Her presentation, titled "Striving for Excellence; Olympic Success and Real Life Challenges," will be presented in Cochran Hall. 




Concluding lecture, April 3 


The final lecture in the series is April 3 in Nissan Auditorium. The W's Dr. Dorothy Berglund will present "Ice flow: Positive Psychology in Coaching and Training Athletes." 


Velek said, "We are thrilled by the quality, stature and variety of speakers in the series this semester. It is great to end by a W faculty member." 


Research symposia, April 24, May 1 


The Forum Series concludes April 24 and May 1 with the Honors College's Spring Research Symposia. The events showcase the undergraduate research of MUW seniors who are working on honors research projects. A poster session will be presented by students midway through projects and final research presentations will be made.  


"It is exciting that we have so many students doing undergraduate research and that the quality of the work done at MUW is so high," noted Dr. Velek. 


All presentations are free and open to the public. All speakers are available after presentations to meet and greet members of the audience. For further information or to reserve group seating, contact Velek at [email protected], 662-241-6850 or visit



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