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President’s Lecture Series

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Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, president of Shepherd University, has created this lecture series as part of the Lifelong Learning Program. The lectures are free to the public with advanced registration as seating is limited.


Lectures will be held in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education Auditorium 

Join via Zoom

Meeting New Challenges: National Security in the 21st Century

September 21  |  6:30 p.m.

Mark Montgomery

Mark Montgomery serves as the senior advisor to the chairmen of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and was previously the executive director. He is also the senior director of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He previously served as policy director for the Senate Armed Services Committee under the leadership of the late Senator John S. McCain.   

Mark completed 32 years as a nuclear trained surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a rear admiral in 2017.  He commanded the USS McCampbell (DDG 85) and Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN. His flag officer assignments included director of operations (J3) at U.S. Pacific Command; commander of Carrier Strike Group 5 embarked on the USS George Washington stationed in Japan; and deputy director, plans, policy and strategy (J5) at U.S. European Command.


Who Owns History? 

October 19  |  6:30 p.m.

Dennis Frye

Dennis Frye recently retired after 20 years as chief historian at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. For his more than three decades of NPS service, Dennis earned the Department of Interior’s Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor conferred by the department. Dennis also has earned the American Battlefield Trust highest award—The Shelby Foote Award, as well as the Chicago Civil War Round Table’s (CWRT) Nevins-Freeman Award; the Kansas City CWRT’s Harry S. Truman Award; and the Olde Colony CWRT’s Revere Award. Author of ten books and 102 articles, Dennis has appeared as a guest historian for PBS, the History Channel, A&E, the Travel Channel, C-SPAN, Voice of America, and Fox News. Dennis is in demand as a guide and has led tours for the Smithsonian, National Geographic, The New York Times, and major universities and Civil War organizations. Dennis is a renowned preservationist and a co-founder of the American Battlefield Trust and the Save Historic Antietam Foundation, serving as president of both non-profit organizations. Dennis is a native of the Antietam Battlefield/Harpers Ferry region, where his family roots go back 250 years. He and his wife Sylvia own and have restored General Burnside’s post-Antietam headquarters south of Sharpsburg, where they now reside.


Anticipating the Plagues of our Times: Genomics Detectives on Prospects for the 21st Century

November 30  |  6:30 p.m.

Dr. Stephen O’Brien

Dr. Stephen J. O’Brien is a world-leading molecular biologist, population geneticist, genetic epidemiologist, and dedicated conservationist who uses molecular, genetic, and bioinformatics tools to help protect endangered species and to resolve genetic determinants of devastating complex diseases such as HIV/AIDS and cancer. He was born in Rochester, New York, and grew up there and in Bethesda, Maryland. He graduated with a B.S. in biology from St. Francis College in Pennsylvania and a PhD in genetics from Cornell University. He joined the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health as a post-doctoral fellow in 1971 and served as founder and chief of the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity from 1986-2012. In 2012, he founded the Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University, Russia, and today serves as the chief scientific officer. His dedication and science influence was honored in 2016 by his election to the Russian Academy of Sciences. In 2013, he was appointed professor and research director at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where he applies his experience to genome bioinformatics of marine vertebrate and invertebrate species. His research career, training emphasis, and leadership helped establish the very important disciplines of genetic epidemiology, genome wide association studies, comparative genomics, emerging infections diseases, genome bioinformatics, and conservation genetics of endangered and threatened species.


For more information or to register, contact Karen Rice, director of Lifelong Learning, at or 304-876-5135.

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