D&E faculty, alumnus to present free lectures

Three academic lectures in the fields of business, religion and science will be presented on Saturday as part of the Davis & Elkins College Alumni Homecoming Weekend. All three lectures will take place at 10 a.m. and are open to the public.

Mark S. Barber, Class of ’75, will present the McDonnell Chair in Business and Economics in honor of Dr. Gloria M. Payne lecture in the Byrd Center Conference Room.

Dr. Bryan Wagoner, D&E assistant professor of Religious Studies and Philosophy and chair of the Religious Studies and Philosophy Department, will provide the Thomas R. Ross Chair in History and the Humanities Lecture, sponsored by the Ross Society, in Booth Library Community Room.

The S. Benton Talbot Chair in the Natural Sciences and Nursing Lecture will be given by Dr. Michelle Mabry, D&E associate professor of Biology and chair of the Biology and Environmental Science Department, in Eshleman Science Center, room 400.

Barber is deputy treasurer at General Electric Co. and General Electric Capital Corporation, and a member of the Davis & Elkins College Board of Trustees. During his more than 20 years at GE, his work has related to the company’s short-term funding and investment activities.

Prior to joining GE Capital in 1989, he served as a manager at Ford Motor Credit Company from 1978 to 1989. He also worked as an analyst at Prudential Financial from 1975 to 1978.

Barber and his wife, Lynn, live in Weston, Conn.

Light refreshments will be served following the lecture.

The James S. McDonnell Foundation Chair in Business and Economics honors Dr. Gloria M. Payne, who has served on the faculty of Davis & Elkins College for more than 60 years. The McDonnell/Payne Chair helps ensure that the Department of Business & Economics has the resources it needs to continue serving students with the creativity, vitality and personalized attention that have been hallmarks of Dr. Payne’s remarkable career.

Wagoner’s lecture in honor of Dr. Thomas Richard Ross, titled, “Narrative Inquiry and a Global Religious Ethic,” will call into question the validity of certain methods of the philosophy of history and ethics.

Wagoner earned his doctorate in religion from Harvard University, where he was the recipient of a Whiting Fellowship, an honor given to outstanding, advanced dissertation writers in humanities Ph.D. programs. He received his Master of Divinity and Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University and his bachelor’s in Philosophy and Literature from Gordon College, MA. His teaching and research interests include modern religious thought, secularism and religious identity, and world religions.

His previous teaching experience includes positions as adjunct instructor at Emmanuel College, Boston, Mass.; lecturer in religion, humanities and languages at Thiel College, Greenville, Pa.; and head teaching fellow at Harvard University.

The Thomas Richard Ross Chair honors one of Davis & Elkins College’s most distinguished professors. Dr. Thomas Richard Ross held many positions at Davis & Elkins College professor and chair of the Department of History and Political Science, dean of the Faculty, college historian and trustee advisor. The Ross Chair helps ensure that Ross’s legacy of scholarship and challenging mentorship lives on among professors in history and the humanities.

The T.R. Ross Society was established by Ross’s former students to continue Ross’s legacy of scholarship and challenging mentorship among professors in history and the humanities.

Mabry’s lecture, titled “A Brief History of Women in Science,” will highlight the historical challenges and successes of women in various scientific fields.

Mabry teaches biology and environmental science courses with a primary focus on how living things function in relation to their structure.

In 2003, she received the Lois Latham Award for Teaching Excellence from Davis & Elkins College. In addition, Mabry is the recipient of multiple grants including the WVEPSCoR Innovation Grant, Faculty Innovation Grant and Appalachian College Association International Seminar Grant.

Mabry received her Ph.D. in Zoology from Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., her Master of Arts in Biology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va.

The S. Benton Talbot Chair in the Natural Sciences and Nursing honors a pioneer of academic excellence and leadership at Davis & Elkins College. Dr. Talbot set the standard early in the college’s history, serving as dean of the faculty and establishing premier programs in biology and pre-medicine. Although there have been many changes in academic programs since Talbot’s day, his commitment to academic excellence and mentoring the whole person lives on in today’s faculty as well.

The Talbot Chair will provide vital resources for thriving programs in biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science and nursing. Approximately $700,000 has been given for the Chair. Dr. Ronald A. Rollins, Class of ’57, is leading the efforts to fully fund the Talbot Chair at $1 million.

For more information, please visit D&E’s website at or call 304-637-1243.