Speaker Series

The Murray State University Alumni Association, Office of Development and Town& Gown are lining up some of our best and brightest Racer alumni, family and friends from around the country for a series of virtual speaker events throughout the fall. Plug in, grab a cup of coffee and invest some time in your personal and professional growth on a number of exciting and compelling topics via Zoom. Each month explore different career perspectives, get motivated to reach higher heights, expand your toolkit with communication, leadership and emotional intelligence development and lean into the national conversation on race, equity and inclusion. Most virtual events are open to all, but pre-registration is required. The "Members-only" virtual speaker series is open only to active MSUAA members and current Town & Gown partners. Not a member? Join today! 

Speaker Schedule (subject to change)

Please register for each event individually.  



Each of these events are made possible by generous alumni and friends.  If you would like to support special programs at Murray State please visit our giving page.

Watch Past Events

10 a.m. CDT

Growth and Uncertainty featuring Kathy Harris

Kathy Harris

Kathy Harris, '80, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development for Sharecare, Inc., has over 30 years of finance and investment experience. She most recently served as a general partner at Noro-Moseley Partners, the oldest and one of the largest venture capital firms in the Southeastern U.S. Harris shared about her experience driving corporate and professional growth during uncertain times.  Check out the recording to hear how Murray State was part of her journey!

Watch Video

September 2020
12 p.m. CDT

Level Up: Elevate your Game & Crush Your Goals with Alyson Van Hooser

Alyson Van Hooser

2010 Murray State alumna, keynote speaker and leadership trainer Alyson Van Hooser, shares how to harness the power of an ownership mindset and unlock your ability to achieve even your most audacious goals! With only the grit that can come from tough life experiences, Alyson peels back the layers on what it takes to truly Level Up and take control of your future, personally and professionally. See the video for a truly inspiring experience!

Watch Video

September 17, 2020
5 p.m. CDT

Germany and Racism in the 20th Century with David Pizzo

David Pizzo

Dr. Pizzo’s presentation will explore the ways in which race and racism have been significant in recent German history, including Germany’s colonial empire and the rise and implementation of National Socialism (Nazism). He will also draw connections and parallels between the history of race and racism in Germany and America.

Watch Video

October 2, 2020
9:30 a.m. CDT

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium

Dr. Aaron Thompson

Coordinated by Murray State's Office of Multicultural Initiatives, Student Leadership and Inclusive Excellence, this free virtual symposium is intended to promote cross-racial dialogue, education and increased awareness of issues related to race and ethnicity. The event will include a keynote address presented by Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education president Dr. Aaron Thompson (pictured) and include leading alumni from around the country as speakers and panelists. 

Watch Video

Oct. 14, 2020
11 a.m. CDT

C3: Consistent Communication in Times of Crisis

Rob Henry

Rob Henry, '87, vice president of education at CASE is responsible for creating an overall global strategy for achieving CASE's vision and mission related to talent management, conference programming, diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and the CASE Library. Hear about his leadership experiences and communication strategies during a global pandemic.

Watch Video

Oct. 15, 2020
6 p.m.

How Will I Ever Remember All of That? Strategies for Effective Learning and Memory

Dr. Paula Waddill

The Dr. and Mrs. Gary Brummer Colloquium Series in Psychology presents, "How Will I Ever Remember All of That? Strategies for Effective Learning and Memory," presented by Dr. Paula Waddill, Murray State University professor of psychology and Psychology Department chair. Every day we are faced with the need to remember many different things, from last names to the grocery list. Dr. Waddill will present evidence-based strategies for improving learning and memory for different kinds of information and discuss how those strategies can enhance performance, even in the most stressful times. 

Watch Video

Oct. 15, 2020
5 p.m. CDT

Family Research and Culture: The Power of Perspective with Esther Malm

Ester Malm

This presentation will give snapshots of research Dr. Malm has been conducting at Murray State on family-related studies of different ethnic groups in the US and in other countries, which reveals the importance of worldviews and perspectives in conducting and interpreting research. She will share some of the lessons she has learned on culture, worldviews and daily human behavior.

Watch Video

Oct. 29, 2020
5-6:30 p.m.

Patricia Summerville Emerging Arts Professionals Panel

Paul Verdell self portrait

Learn about the breadth of possible ways to earn a living and make a life working in the arts, and discover the myriad of ways real artists and art professionals use their mediums and platforms to further social change. Featured panelists include, Jasmine Burton, Paul Verdell (self-portrait pictured), Leila Khoury, and Dr. Sue Shon.

Register Now

Oct. 29, 2020
6 p.m. CDT

No Two Nights are the Same: Causes and Consequences of Variability in Sleep

Dr. Danica Slavish

Sleep is a dynamic health behavior. It can fluctuate drastically from night to night due to daily changes in work schedules, medical symptoms, stress, mood, caregiving responsibilities, and/or social obligations. Are individuals with more variable sleep schedules at greater risk for disease? How might this inconsistency in sleep cause disease? This presentation will explore these questions and present results of research studies conducted in the Bronx, Memphis, and Dallas. Dr. Slavish will discuss future directions and implications of this work for COVID-19 and the importance of understanding the causes and consequences of variability in sleep from a biopsychosocial perspective.

Watch Video

November 5, 2020
1 p.m. CDT

Leading in Uncertain Times

David Dill

In late February, hospitals and healthcare providers across the nation were thrust into the most widespread and dynamic health crisis in modern history. In the face of uncertainty and fear, organizational culture and leadership is exposed – it can either guide you through a situation, or reveal your weaknesses. For LifePoint, the company’s culture has been the North Star as they’ve swiftly responded to care for their communities during COVID-19. Please join LifePoint CEO David Dill as he shares his insights about leading in uncertain times.

Watch Now

November 11, 2020
12 p.m. CDT

Being BOLD to Serve

Trisha Cunningham headshot

Trisha Cunningham, '86, President and CEO of North Texas Food Bank., will share how her career has come full circle and how her experience leads to service.  In college, she worked in Murray State’s American Humanics program that trained students to become nonprofit executives.  She then went on to a 30-year corporate career as a global executive at Texas Instruments.  In her current role, Trisha Cunningham is leading a $200 million nonprofit in the Dallas Fort Worth area, the North Texas Food Bank.  During this virtual chat, she will provide insight from her experiences on how everyone, regardless of their stage in their career, can use their time, talent and treasure to make their community stronger.

Watch Video