Employees lend their voices to MSC Speakers Bureau


Have you ever been curious about the history of the Masonic Lodge, or the real role of women in medieval times? Or maybe you want to learn more about art and writing? Now is your chance. Murray State College employees have come together to form the MSC Speakers Bureau. Community organizations, schools, and clubs can book a member of the bureau to speak on a variety of topics. Organizer Sharon Burris said she wanted to form the bureau to both showcase the MSC faculty, and to serve the community. She says the great diversity among the employees has created an intriguing roster of speakers.

“MSC actually does have rocket scientists working here--two, in fact, who worked for NASA,” says Burris. “We have Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and FBI officers who instruct our criminology classes--we have faculty who have traveled to other countries for ornithology studies, and who have hobbies ranging from old Oklahoma highways to amazing stories of state history. The main reason I wanted to organize a Murray State College Speakers Bureau was because since coming here more than a decade ago, I have been constantly amazed by the quality of faculty working here.”

There is no cost for organizations, schools, clubs, and other groups to book an MSC speaker. Participants in the bureau look forward to sharing their knowledge with interested area groups.

One speaker who has a mix of topics is MSC History Instructor Rebecca Jacobs-Pollez. Jacobs-Pollez presents several topics related to world history, but she also has a presentation about NASA astronaut training. While history is Jacobs-Pollez’s field of study, she worked at the Johnson Space Center for thirty years in the areas of crew training and operations for both the shuttle and the Space Station. She says with her history topics, she wants to set the record straight.

“As I tell my students, history is fascinating because it is the study of people and people have done some amazing and weird things,” says Jacobs-Pollez. “My specialty is medieval women's history and women have been ignored for too long. I want to inform my audience of the important role that women have played throughout time. In addition, there are quite a few misconceptions about history and I would love to help dispel some of them.”

History buffs will also enjoy “History of Freemasons” presented by Ronnie Coppedge. Coppedge is a fourth generation Freemason, and has been an active member of the local Blue Lodge (Tishomingo #91) for twenty-five years. He is also a member of all other Masonic bodies, including the Scottish Rite, York Rite, and Order of the Eastern Star. He was elected to the highest office in Oklahoma Freemasonry, Grand Master, in 2004.

“One of my proudest achievements in Freemasonry is being chosen as a Deputy Grand Lecturer for the State of Oklahoma,” says Coppedge. “I have over 140,000 words memorized, exactly as my great-grandfather had. The words haven't changed in Oklahoma since 1909.”

He says that anyone who is interested in the history of the United States will find his topic interesting.

“How Freemasonry and the founding fathers of our nation are all connected is an incredible true story,” he says. “I show how the teachings of Freemasons were included in the Constitution of the United States, the Bill of Rights, and other important documents of our nation.”

A list of presenters is available on the Murray State College website. Organization program schedulers should contact the presenter they are interested in booking.

“Many faculty members are amazingly competent in their fields of studies, recognized by their peers for their work, awards and recognitions, and conference presentations and papers,” says Burris. “There's such a wealth of interesting information available, creating a format to connect community organizations seeking presenters and knowledgeable faculty members just seemed a natural way to better connect both MSC campuses with area communities.”

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