Harry Lee Waterfield Distinguished Lecture in Public Affairs

Begun in 1977 and sponsored by the Department of Political Science and Sociology, the Harry Lee Waterfield Distinguished Lecture in Public Affairs was the first annual lecture series to be established at Murray State University. It was named in honor of Mr. Harry Lee Waterfield, who grew up in Calloway County and graduated from Murray State University in the 1930’s. Reared in poverty but determined to get an education and succeed, he distinguished himself in three careers: journalism, politics and insurance. Mr. Waterfield was twice elected Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky and later founded the Investors’ Heritage Life Insurance Company in Frankfort. The purpose of the lecture series is to bring to campus distinguished individuals of significant accomplishment to speak on topics of historical and political importance. Speakers have included Governors of Kentucky such as Louie Nunn, Paul Patton and Steve Beshear, United States Senators Richard Lugar, James Abourezk and Paul Simon, Professors Richard Fenno of the University of Rochester, Richard Neustadt of Harvard University and Alexander Heard of Vanderbilt University, and Judges Robert Stephens, Edward Johnstone, Joseph Lambert and Bill Cunningham.


  • 1977: Hon. Louie Nunn, Governor of Kentucky
  • 1978: Hon. Richard Lugar, U. S. Senator, Indiana
  • 1979: Dr. Gordon Tullock, Professor of Political Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
  • 1980: Hon. James Abourezk, U.S. Senator, South Dakota
  • 1981: Hon. John LeBoutillier, U.S. House of Representatives, New York
  • 1982: Hon. Richard Parker, U.S. Ambassador (ret.), Algeria, Lebanon & Morocco, University of Virginia
  • 1983: Mr. James McIntyre, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Carter Administration
  • 1984: Dr. Richard Fenno, Professor of Political Science, University Rochester
  • 1985: Ms. Dorothy S. Ridings, President of the League of Women Voters
  • 1986: Prof. Rennard Srickland, Dean, School of Law, Southern Illinois University
  • 1987: Mr. H. Stuart Knight, Former Director, U.S. Secret Service
  • 1989: Dr. Alexander Heard, Chancellor Emeritus and Professor of Political Science, Vanderbilt University
  • 1990: Dr. Richard Neustadt, Professor of Government, Harvard University
  • 1991: Dr. Thomas D. Clark, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Kentucky
  • 1992: Hon. Robert F. Stephens, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Kentucky
  • 1993: Prof. Paul Marcus, Marshall-Wythe School of Law, College of William and Mary
  • 1994: Dr. Diane Blair, Professor of Political Science, University of Arkansas
  • 1995: Mr. Reuben Greenberg, Chief of Police, Charleston, South Carolina
  • 1997: Hon. Edward H. Johnstone, U.S. District Judge (ret.), Western District of Kentucky
  • 1998: Hon. Paul Simon, U.S. Senator (ret.), Illinois and Director of Public Policy Institute, Southern Illinois University
  • 1999: Hon. Paul Patton, Governor of Kentucky
  • 2000: Dr. John S. Jackson, III, Professor of Political Science & Interim Chancellor, Southern Illinois University
  • 2001: Dr. Roderick R. Paige, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education
  • 2003: Dr. Thomas E. Mann, W. Averell Harriman Chair and Senior Fellow in Governmental Studies, The Brookings Institution
  • 2004: Dr. John C. Green, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of Akron
  • 2005: Hon. Joseph E. Lambert, Chief Justice, Supreme court of Kentucky
  • 2006: Dr. Thomas Layzell, President, Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education
  • 2007: Hon. Bill Cunningham, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Kentucky
  • 2008: Hon. Steve Beshear, Governor of Kentucky
  • 2009: Prof. Roger Billings, Prof. of Law, Chase College of Law, NKU
  • 2010: Dr. Constantine Curris, former president of Murray State University and current member of the Board of Regents
  • 2011: Hon. Roger Vinson, Judge, United States District Court for the Western district of Florida
  • 2012: William T. Robinson III, President, American Bar Association
  • 2014: Dr. David Dunn, executive vice-president for health affairs at the University of Louisville
  • 2015: Dr. John Vasquez, Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 2016: Dr. Jan E. Leighley, Professor of Government, American University
  • 2017: Dr. Julia Lynch, Political Science, University of Pennsylvania
  • 2018: Dr. James E. Campbell, UB Distinguished Professor, University at Buffalo
  • 2019: Dr. Anna Guevarra, Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • 2021: Dr. Lauren Heidbrink, Associate Professor of Human Development, California State University-Long Beach

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