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The J. Roderick Davis Lecture Series

The annual J. Roderick Davis Lecture is Samford University's premier public arts and sciences event. Each year's topic connects with important issues, current events, and historical milestones that reflect Samford's commitment to a broad liberal arts education.

The lecture series honors J. Roderick Davis, a 1958 Howard College alumnus and later the dean of Samford's Howard College of Arts and Sciences. When Davis retired from his office in 2001, his colleagues honored him by establishing a lecture series in his name that would bring to campus recognized scholars and public intellectuals.


Inside the Helmet: Repeated Head Trauma

 and Degenerative Brain Disease

Join us at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 10 in Wright Center as celebrated neuropathaologist Ann McKee delves "Inside the Helmet" to discuss the long-term effects of sports and combat concussions. McKee specializes in the study of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its long-term consequence, mckeechronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). She is Professor of Neurology and Pathology at VA Boston HealthCare System and Boston University School of Medicine. She is also Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy, Director of the VISN-1 Neuropathology Laboratory for the New England VA Medical Centers and Director of Brain Banks for the Alzheimer Disease Center and Framingham Heart Study.

McKee is more widely know for her service on the Medical Advisory Board for the Sports Legacy Institute and the Mackey White Traumatic Brain Injury Committee for the National Football League (NFL) Players' Association. She serves as an elected member of the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and the National Academies’ Panel on Human Research and Engineering at the Army Research Laboratory. Her many professional honors include multiple Merit Awards from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the 2012 Impact Award from the Sports Legacy Institute.



Previous Davis Lecturers

2012 - Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Martin Luther King, Jr. biographer

2011- Dr. Garrett Fagan, professor of ancient history at Pennsylvania State University, author of "The Lure of the Arena

2010 - Dr. Kevin Davies, British science writer and editor, "The $1,000 Genome: The Pros and Cons of Reading Your DNA"

2009 - Dr. Orville Vernon Burton, An officer of the Congressional National Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission Foundation, "The Age of Lincoln"

2008 - Eugene Robinson, Journalist and Commentator for the Washington Post and MSNBC, "Election 2008: The Highest Stakes"

2007 - Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, the Aspen Institute, Author, Einstein: His Life and Universe: "Einstein's Creativity"

2006 – Dr. Juan Hernandez, President, Organization for Hispanic Advancement: “The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?”

2005 – Dr. Fawaz A. Gerges, Professor of International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College: “The Far Enemy: How and Why Jihad Went Global”

2004 – Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain, Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School: “Democracy and Human Dignity”

2003 – Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, Director of the National Cancer Institute: “The Future of Cancer: Progress with a Purpose”

2002 – Susan Eisenhower, President of the Eisenhower Institute: “Leadership in Conflict”