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President’s Lecture Series

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Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, president of Shepherd University, has created this distinguished lecture series—for the campus and community, and it has become part of the Lifelong Learning Program.

Fall 2024

All lectures, which are free and open to the public, take place in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium. These lectures will also be livestreamed on the Shepherd University Youtube channel.


Science Fiction or Fact? Artificial Intelligence Risk and What To Do About It

September 24 | 6:30 p.m.

Harriet Pearson, Founder & CEO, Axia Advisory LLC

AI is like an elephant. Touch an aspect of the complex phenomenon called artificial intelligence and you likely will understand only part of the picture. AI-powered systems can boost human productivity, but they also may present biased and inaccurate results. They may even pose an existential threat to humanity, according to some experts.

This lecture will piece together the pieces of the puzzle to present a coherent picture of AI as a transformative technology, including:


What Does Political Rhetoric Owe Democracy?

October 28 | 6:30 p.m.

Peter Loge, Director of the Project on Ethics in Political Communication at George Washington University

American democracy is the process by which we decide how to divvy up the stuff and what to do next. People make the best argument for their ideas, we hold a vote, do what we voted to do, and then argue some more. Democracy isn’t the outcome, it’s the process. Democracy is both a means and an end. In this light, when we engage in politics – when we “do” political communication – we have an ethical obligation to politics itself. The broader and better the conversation, and the better those arguments are, the stronger our democracy is. The narrower and worse the conversation and arguments, the weaker our democracy gets. Join this presentation to learn about what our ethical obligations look like to ensure and improve our democratic conversation.


Where Do We Go From Here?

November 18 | 6:30 p.m.

Scott Widmeyer, Founding Managing Partner / Chief Strategy Officer at FINN Partners

Fresh off the critical November 5 elections, political and public affairs strategist Scott Widmeyer who also co-chairs The Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Communications, will share his thoughts on how civility scored in the 2024 election cycle as part of the President’s Lecture Series for Fall 2024. And, he will tackle a series of key questions, including:


For more information, contact Lucinda Powers, Director of Continuing Education & Lifelong Learning, at or 304-876-5135.

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