Friday, September 16, 6 p.m.
A Life of Public Service

No living Mississippian has more experience in high office than Ray Maybus, who has served as state auditor, governor, U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and for the last eight years as U.S. Secretary of the Navy. He will be here to talk with Charles Overby.

Tuesday, September 27, 6 p.m.
A Critical Eye on the Campaign

Stuart Stevens, a leading GOP consultant who has been outspoken in his condemnation of Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Friday, September 30, 6 p.m.
(at Nutt Auditorium)

Election Countdown

Lack and Brokaw of NBC News, along with special guest and former governor Barbour. The political discussion will be moderated by Maggie Wade from Jackson’s NBC affiliate. The program is co-sponsored by Mississippi Today, the state’s online news operation.

Tuesday, October 11, 6 p.m.
"Mississippi Freelance"

An irreverent monthly that poked fun at Mississippi politicians and exposed many irregularities fifty years ago, will be fondly remembered by its founders, Lew Powell and Ed Williams, Ole Miss graduates who went on to outstanding careers at the Charlotte Observer.

Friday, October 14, 9 a.m.
The Embassy

A new book about earlier turmoil in Liberia, will be discussed by its author, Dante Paradiso, an American Foreign Service officer posted to its capital, Monrovia, at the time.

Wednesday, October 19, 8 p.m.
The Last Debate

The final engagement between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be shown live on the Overby Center Auditorium’s screen, to be followed by a public discussion.

Thursday, October 27, 2:30 p.m.
Mississippi Indians

Overby Fellow Bill Rose and students on his Meek School team in the latest in-depth reporting assignment, an annual course that has produced a series of prize-winning magazines.

Tuesday, November 1, 6 p.m.
Civil Rights Milestone

James Meredith’s idea that led to an assassination attempt on his life and a fractious finish by competing civil rights leaders in 1966 will be recalled on its 50th anniversary by Aram Goudsouzian, author of “Down to the Crossroads,” a book on the subject; Marvin King, Ole Miss political science professor; and Charles Overby and Overby Fellow Curtis Wilkie, who were journalists in the state at the time.

Wednesday, November 2, 6 p.m.
Ole Miss in Africa

Meek School students who traveled earlier this year to Zimbabwe and Namibia on a photo expedition and study of wildlife management.

Tuesday, November 15, 6 p.m.
The Outcome

The outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign – and its impact on the future of the two major parties – will be the subject for a final discussion..

Presidential Politics Panel at Nutt Auditorium on Friday (9/30)

Four nationally-known figures from the world of journalism and politics will discuss election year developments in a special program Friday at 6 p.m. on the eve of the Ole Miss-Memphis game. Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News, and Tom Brokaw, the network’s long-time anchor and now special correspondent, will be joined by two prominent political names, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr., for a discussion moderated by Maggie Wade, an anchor at Jackson’s WLBT.

The program is co-sponsored by Mississippi Today.

The event is being held at Nutt Auditorium on the Ole Miss campus to accommodate a larger crowd. A reception will be held following the program. All Overby Center programs are free and open to the public, and special arrangements have been made to provide free parking in the lot just east of Nutt Auditorium and across the street in the Gertrude Ford Center lot for the duration of the event.

The event is a Chancellor’s Inauguration Signature Event. Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter will make welcoming remarks.

"Every presidential election is a bridge in our country's history,” said Charles Overby, the Overby Center chairman and a member of the board of Mississippi Today. “These panelists have seen past campaigns up close. Their first-hand experiences will be informative and entertaining."

The panel members will be introduced by Overby Center fellow Curtis Wilkie, an Ole Miss grad and longtime political correspondent for the Boston Globe. Wilkie noted that the event, coming on the heels of this year’s first presidential debate, recalls the pivotal role Ole Miss played in hosting the first debate in 2008 between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.

“It’s our effort to bring back to the Ole Miss campus some of the excitement we enjoyed in 2008 when our school hosted the first presidential debate,” Wilkie said. “We’ve got a great and varied group of panelists who can talk authoritatively about high stakes politics.”

Brokaw, the former “NBC Nightly News” anchor, is one of the nation’s most respected reporters and commentators on the American political scene. He was the 2016 Commencement speaker for the University of Mississippi.

Barbour, a two-term Mississippi governor, brings a national perspective as well, having served as chairman of the Republican National Committee from 1993-97 and working in President Ronald Reagan’s White House. He is a lobbyist in Washington and Jackson.

Ford, member of the prominent Memphis family of Democrats, served in Congress for five terms. He is seen as a frequent commentator on national TV programs about the current state of politics in America.

Lack, founder of Mississippi Today, has managed and guided national political coverage for national news organizations for years. His ties to Mississippi stretch back to his great-grandfather, who was the mayor of Greenville.

Wade, a Crystal Springs native, has been reporting on Mississippi news events for WLBT in Jackson since graduating from college. A proud member of the Mississippi Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Wade serves as the 4, 4:30, 5 and 10 p.m. news co-anchor for the station.

A reception with drinks and appetizers with the panel members following the conversation is open to the public.

Fall 2016 at the Overby Center

The Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics will celebrate its 10th season at Ole Miss with a line-up of ten programs this fall, beginning with a special appearance at 6 p.m. Friday (Sept. 16) by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.

Mabus, an Ackerman native who graduated from Ole Miss in 1969, has a distinguished record of public service that may be matched by only one other Mississippian in history, the 19th century statesman L.Q.C. Lamar. Mabus has served as state auditor, governor, ambassador to Saudi Arabia and as Secretary of the Navy for the past eight years. He will talk about his career with Charles Overby, chairman of the Overby Center, in an hour-long discussion in the Overby Center Auditorium. A reception will follow.

Parking for guests will be available in the lot adjacent to the Overby Center for the duration of the event.

All Overby Center events are free and open to the public, and arrangements are being made to provide parking for all evening programs this fall. With the exception of a Sept. 30 forum at Nutt Auditorium, events will be held at the Overby Auditorium.

The autumn series features many interesting guests including Andy Lack, president of NBC News; Tom Brokaw, long-time NBC correspondent; former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour; and Stuart Stevens, a Mississippian who managed Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012. Two programs will feature Ole Miss students who worked on special projects in Africa and among the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes in Mississippi.

"The fall lineup of programs ranges from serious to quirky, with a great array of interesting, accomplished personalities," said Overby.


The Overby Center for Southern Journalism & Politics’ mission is to create better understanding of the media, politicians and the role of the First Amendment in our democracy. The Center is funded through a $5 million grant from the Freedom Forum, a foundation dedicated to educating people about the importance of a free press and the First Amendment.

The Overby Center features programs, multimedia displays and writings which examine the complex relationships between the media and politicians - past, present and future. The Overby Center pays special attention to Southern perspectives.

Adjacent to the newly renovated journalism department facility at Farley Hall, the Overby Center is a new building that features 16,000 square feet of conference space. It includes a 225-seat auditorium, a multipurpose conference room that will accommodate 100 people for seminars and dinners, and a boardroom seating up to 24 people.

The center has state-of-the-art technology and video throughout the building, including a news wall with nine large-screen TV monitors for showing live news programs and current front pages from 12 Southern states.

The center is named for Charles L. Overby, editor of the Daily Mississippian at Ole Miss from 1967-1968. Overby was the CEO of the Freedom Forum and Newseum until his retirement in 2012.

Overby Center Auditorium

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