For the MBJ
The Delta State University Distinguished Speakers Lecture Series kicks off 2014 with an impressive leader — Dr. Robert Khayat, former Chancellor of the University of Mississippi.
Khayat’s speech, titled “The Education of a Lifetime,” will begin at 6 p.m. on Wed., Jan. 29 in Jobe Hall Auditorium on campus. The event will be followed with a book signing and reception.
His speech will cover topics from his recent memoir, also titled “The Education of a Lifetime,” which will be available for purchase. The book was ranked 29th on the New York Times Top 75 Best-Selling Education Books of 2013.
Those unable to attend the event can view the livestream speech online through the university’s official uStream channel: www.ustream.tv/channel/delta-state-university.
LaForge established the Delta State University Colloquia program when taking office in 2013. The platform is an ongoing series of top-flight lectures and addresses featuring prominent speakers. Former Mississippi governor William F. Winter was honored as the first speaker.
Khayat served as the 15th chancellor of the University of Mississippi from 1995-2009. He is also a former college football all-star, an Academic All American football and baseball player, all-pro kicker for the Washington Redskins, law professor and president of the NCAA Foundation.
His memoir covers a number of topics from his noteworthy career, including the 1962 riot at Ole Miss with the admission of James Meredith. At the time, Khayat was kicking for the newly integrated Washington Redskins in the National Football League. More than 35 years later he was leading the university through its controversial association with the Confederate flag.
LaForge, now following in his footsteps as a university president, has long shared a professional friendship with Khayat. They originally met at Ole Miss during LaForge’s first year in law school.
“We’ve stayed in touch through the years and I consider him a friend, advisor and mentor,” said LaForge. “He was there to support me in my candidacy for president and has continued to support me since taking office.
“We share similar backgrounds in the areas of law and education — it’s a pleasure and honor to welcome him to Delta State. The audience will get to hear about the significance of education in Mississippi, along with other topics such as leadership and community involvement.”
Following the reception, Khayat and LaForge will be doing a little “pick up play” at the Delta Music Institute, as they both share a passion for musical performance.
Khayat will remain on campus Thursday and meet with students to speak during classes, focusing on the areas of leadership principals and networking.
LaForge said the Colloquia program is another commitment toward bringing excellence to Delta State.
“As a university, we need to make available to Delta State and the community marquee speakers from across the country and the world,” said LaForge. “Great universities have great programs, and this is another step in the right direction. This is one of the hallmark items of what we’re trying to do here.
“This is a university-wide program that will continue to bring a unique and diverse array of people — from judges, former government officials, lawyers and business people. These are all folks our students can look up to.”
Learn more about the series at www.deltastate.edu/president/colloquia.