Brokaw to teach for a week at Ole Miss

11/12/09 Contact: Media & P.R., 662-915-7236
University of Mississippi

Tom Brokaw, Rhesa Barksdale
To Share Insights with Students

OXFORD, Miss. – Two of the most intriguing figures in recent
American history – Tom Brokaw and Rhesa Barksdale – have agreed to
share their insights and reflections with students at the University
of Mississippi next spring as visiting lecturers.
Brokaw, longtime “NBC Nightly News” anchor and one of the
most respected people in broadcast journalism, and Barksdale, a
sitting judge on the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, have both
been named as Sally McDonnell Barksdale Fellows. The program’s goal
is to energize the academic environment for the entire campus, said
Douglass Sullivan-Gonzalez, dean of UM’s Sally McDonnell Barksdale
Honors College.
“Our students are not simply spectators in education,”
Sullivan-Gonzalez said. “They are participants, and this allows them
to learn from two people who have helped shaped American history.”
A special correspondent for NBC News and frequent visitor to
Oxford, Brokaw has agreed to lecture for a journalism course led by
the university’s Cook Chair of Journalism, Curtis Wilkie. The course,
“The Changing Face of America,” calls for students to read Brokaw’s
books “The Greatest Generation” (Random House, 1998), which examines
the World War II peer group, and “Boom! Voices of the Sixties”
(Random House, 2008), a reflection on the tumultuous era.
“Tom (Brokaw) is one of the smartest, most thoughtful
individuals that I’ve ever known,” said Wilkie, who met Brokaw during
the 1976 presidential campaign. “He’s equipped and in a unique
position to help show the students how to deal with changes in
society, and he’ll also provide insight into how we, as journalists,
try to keep up with those changes.”
Brother of UM alumnus and philanthropist Jim Barksdale,
Rhesa Barksdale earned his law degree from UM in 1972 and served as a
law clerk for Supreme Court Associate Justice Byron White in 1972-73.
President George H.W. Bush nominated Barksdale as a federal judge. He
was confirmed in 1990 and earned senior status this summer.
He will lecture for a political science and history course
co-taught by Bob Haws and John Winkle. The course, “Quarrels That
Have Shaped Our Understanding of the Constitution,” enables students
to examine the central role of the U.S. Supreme Court in major
political controversies that have shaped our understanding of the Constitution.
“Judge Barksdale has been directly involved in many of the
cases that have molded our society,” said Bob Haws, UM chair of
public policy leadership. “His perspectives and real-world
experiences will be extremely valuable in the classroom as he
examines the role of federal judges.”
Besides being tapped as a Barksdale Fellow, Barksdale will
be honored in the spring as the Trent Lott Leadership Institute’s
inaugural Leader-in-Residence.
With active careers and lives often dictated by world
events, both Brokaw and Barksdale are available only on a limited
basis. Brokaw is slated to be on campus for a week next spring, and
Barksdale is committed to two weeks of lectures. Both classes are
taught in a seminar format.
Course enrollments are limited to 15 to 20 students, and
Honors College students receive first choice. If any openings remain,
students must have a 3.0 grade point average to enroll,
Sullivan-Gonzalez said.