2010 Topics

1. Don’t Laugh at Me

Allen Shamblin, SHSU Alumnus & Songwriter
Allen Shamblin’s most recent Country & Western charts-topper is the Rascal Flatts’ hit “Why.” Composer of many of America’s favorites - such as “Don’t Laugh at Me”, “He Walked on Water” and “Life’s a Dance” - his music has been recorded by famous artist, such as Randy Travis, Clay Walker, Kenney Chesney, Brooks and Dunn, Keith Urban and many others. Allen will describe the life experiences that inspired many of these well-loved songs.

2. View From The Infield, Stealing the Next Base

Phil Garner, Baseball Player & Manager
Phil Garner is a baseball legend who has experienced the sport from many positions. As manager, he took the Astros on their only trip to the World Series in 2005 and used his gritty style of play to help the Pittsburg Pirates win the World Series in 1979. From both player and manager’s perspective, he will discuss his penchant for base-stealing and how he remains in the forefront of America’s favorite past-time.

3. Texas Health Care on the Tide of National Change

The Honorable Lois Kolkhorst
Texas State Representative-District 13

State Representative-District 13 Lois Kolkhorst has long been a champion for SHSU. She is also a champion for the other Texans in her district. During the last legislative session she sponsored legislation to improve health care in Texas. She will discuss how Texas’ program will fair on the national health care horizon.

4. Memoirs of a Former Cuban Political Prisoner
Dr. Rafael Saumell-Muñoz, SHSU Spanish Professor & former Cuban political prisoner
Dr. Saumell- Muñoz is a former member of Cuba’s Writers’ and Artists’ Guild (UNEAC) and was a Cuban radio and television producer from 1975 - 1981. He was incarcerated in three different Cuban maximum security prisons between 1981 - 1986. Dr. Saumell-Muñoz’ experiences as a Cuban journalist and political prisoner under former President Fidel Castro will intrigue and raise appreciation for American freedoms.

5. Auto Industry Bailout?! Who Bailed? Who Sailed?
Charles “Chuck” Jones, III, SHSU Alumnus, Sr. Vice President & East Coast Production Manager, Wachovia Dealer Services
Where are the “clunkers” that were cashed in? Where is the recovery for the auto industry? United States auto-makers were in the forefront of the 2009 federal economic bailout, leaving many Americans wondering, “Did it help?” Chuck Jones with Wachovia Dealer Services will discuss the state of the auto industry following the bailout.

6. A View into the “Perfectly Executed” Murder - SOLD OUT
Jenna L. Jackson, SHSU Alumna & CBS 48 Hours Producer
Jenna L. Jackson is a producer for CBS News’ 48 Hours. She and correspondent Peter Van Sant co-authored a book about their experience in covering a murder that was Perfectly Executed - the book’s title. She describes how she was able to establish relationships with suspects of this particularly brutal crime, giving her unique insight on the story.

7. How Will Reform Change Your Healthcare?- SOLD OUT
Nancy Dickey, M.D., Texas A&M Health Science Center
President & Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs for The Texas A&M University System
As a past president of the American Medical Association - the first female in this national position - Dr. Dickey has a national perspective on healthcare and the possible changes coming. Dr. Dickey will discuss how those changes will affect patient care and personal relationship with the family doctor.

8. The House That Garbage Built
Dan Phillips, SHSU Alumnus & Recycled Home Builder
Dan Phillips is long-time friend of Huntsville and SHSU, having graduated with a MFA in dance in 1964. His artistic nature took on a more rugged expression when he began constructing homes from recycled materials. He has been featured in state and national media, including the Today Show, Texas Country Reporter and New York Times. By using more than 80 percent recycled materials and putting potential homeowners to work building their own home, his unique homes are affordable for families who otherwise might not be able to purchase their own home. Cities around the country have begun consulting with him to establish pilot programs for recycled-house programs.


10. Surviving the White House Press - SOLD OUT
Peter Roussel, Former White House Press Secretary
and the Warner Endowed Chair for Journalism at SHSU

Peter Roussel served as press secretary during the Ford, Reagan and senior Bush presidential administrations, as well as other renowned media positions in Washington. He will share his experiences while working in the White House and how he “survived Helen Thomas, Sam Donaldson and the White House Press Corps!”

11. Our Amazing Race - SOLD OUT
Emily (Hoyt) Crew & Nancy Hoyt, SHSU Alumni & Contestants on CBS’s The Amazing Race
This mother (Nancy) - daughter team are Bearkat alumni who traveled 35,000 miles in 31 days to nine countries on four continents during the 2001 season of the CBS reality show The Amazing Race. They will share their exciting adventure, plus talk about “the rest of the story” when the cameras weren’t rolling.

12. Everything Sports! - SOLD OUT
Randy McIlvoy, SHSU Alumnus & KPRC-TV Channel 2 Sportscaster
Emmy award winner Randy McIlvoy is a sportscaster for KPRC-TV Channel 2 in Houston. He is a commentator on Houston radio and other TV programs, including the Fox Sports Network. He will talk about everything sports in Texas, including his love of those Friday night lights and hometown high school football!

13. The Wall Came Tumbling Down - SOLD OUT
Dr. Roman Popadiuk, Executive Director of the Bush Presidential Library Foundation
President Ronald Regan’s 1987 declaration, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” resounded last November during the 20th anniversary of the wall’s destruction. As an insider with both Presidents Reagan and the elder Bush, Dr. Roman Popadiuk recounts these events from a personal perspective. He served in several advisory positions under Presidents Reagan and Bush, including foreign ambassador to Ukraine, deputy press secretary for foreign affairs, and international affairs advisor.

14. Criminals in the Wild
Dr. Scott Decker, Director of Criminology Arizona State University
If you knew what a burglar was thinking just before he broke into your home, could you secure your home better? Could programs be developed to deter individuals active in this lifestyle? Most information about the criminal mind comes from research in prisons with individuals who were caught and convicted. Dr. Scott Decker is a professor of criminology at Arizona State University, whose research looks at criminals “in the wild” by interviewing and following the activities of 105 active residential burglars.

15. The Person of John Wayne - America’s Hero - SOLD OUT
Dr. Jim Olson, SHSU Professor of History
John Wayne’s popularity grew from his ability to depict various American heroes throughout our nation’s history - Texas’ battle for independence at the Alamo, the Great Depression, world wars and the Vietnam conflict. His movie characters helped define the independent spirit of the United States. Dr. Jim Olson, SHSU history professor, takes a look at this beloved American actor, the movie roles he played and the personal life behind him.

16. Cowboys & Indians - SOLD OUT
Greg Brown, Owner of the USFR Media Group
Linda Brown, Executive Editor of the USFR Media Group

Greg Brown is the owner of USFR Media Group, which includes Cowboys & Indians Magazine, Western & English Magazine, and Houston’s independent TV Channel 55. He and his wife Linda, executive editor, will share anecdotes and adventures with the Cowboys & Indians Magazine, as well as other independent media.

17. Abraham Lincoln’s 200th Remembrance- SOLD OUT
Tolbert Chisum, Chairman, President & CEO of Abraham Lincoln Library Foundation & SHSU Alumnus
Tolbert Chisum returns as a favorite discussion leader from last year’s LET’S TALK! He is chairman, president and CEO of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. He negotiated the acquisition of the largest collection of Lincoln memorabilia and will take a personal look at our greatest president - Lincoln - 200 years after.

18. In-Vogue Intelligence
Dr. Jo Beth Brizendine, SHSU Alumna & Associate Principal, Clear Falls High School
The United States’ glamour culture primarily promotes physical sex appeal with little or no emphasis on intelligence or ambition. Dr. Jo Beth Brizendine works with gifted and talented young women to encourage them to focus more on developing their brains rather than worrying about their bust line.

19. The Real CSI
Dr. Sarah Kerrigan, SHSU Professor of Criminology
Dr. Sarah Kerrigan is a forensic toxicologist and associate professor in the Colleges of Criminal Justice and Arts and Sciences (chemistry department). She received her original training in forensic toxicology at the Scotland Yard Forensic Science Laboratory in London, England. Since then she has worked in a variety of private sector, academic and government laboratories. In addition to teaching she maintains a private practice in Houston.

20. Music, My Love & My World
Melanie Holliday, Former Bearkat & World Renowned Soprano

Melanie Holliday’s rise to stardom came on a global stage, which seemed unique for this Texas native. Having studied in the United States and  eventually mastering four foreign languages, her career has taken her around the world to Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland to name a few.

21. On the Border with the Texas Rangers- SOLD OUT
Captain Clete Buckaloo, Texas Ranger

From the debate of the value of immigrant workers to terrorist infiltration to harrowing experiences of American tourists in Mexico, the issue of border security is a critical Texas concern. The Texas Rangers are on the front line of this issue and Captain Clete Buckaloo has personal experience in securing the Texas border in view of these issues, as well as human and drug trafficking and others.

22. Recession Relief Using Supply Side Economics
Dr. Brian Domitrovic, SHSU History Professor
Dr. Brian Domitrovic has recently appeared on both the Kudlow Report and Lou Dobbs shows for his new book,which takes a historical look at the American economy’s highs and lows and how supply-side economics has been the catalyst for economic recovery throughout U.S. history.


24. Small Business Squeeze
Dr. Ed Blackburne, SHSU Professor of International Business
America’s entrepreneurial spirit is revered around the world and drives the market place. Small businesses employ more workers in the United States than large corporations. Yet, it seems that every new tax and business mandate places a heavier burden on the small business owner. Dr. Ed Blackburne, SHSU professor of international business, will answer the question, “Can small businesses survive?”

25. Making Movies in Texas - SOLD OUT
Richard Linklater, Detour Filmproductions

Watch out Hollywood, movies took a “detour” in Texas. Huntsville native and former Bearkat, Richard Linklater has been blazing a trail for independent film producers since the 1980’s. Founder of the Austin Film Society, his credits include Bad News Bears, Dazed and Confused, School of Rock and his latest release Me and Orson Wells.


Previous LET'S TALK! topics


2009 Topics

1. Beyond the Headlines:  Inside Broadcast News

    Kelli Arena

     Senior Correspondent - CNN News 1985-2008

2. Coaching Skills for Leaders - Coach Your Employees to Exceptional Performance

      Kathleen A Bowersox, M.Ed., LPC, LPBC

      President of Quantum Leap Success Coaching; Executive, Career, and Licensed Professional Business Coach. 

3. Today's Crisis in K-12 Science & Math Education in Texas Schools: Can We Rise Above the Gathering Storm? 

       William R. Brinkley, Ph. D.

       Senior Vice President for Graduate Sciences, BRASS Chair and Dean, Graduate   School of Biomedical Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine

4.   Looking at Lincoln After 200 Years:  Our Greatest President

       T. Tolbert Chisum

       Chairman, President, and CEO, The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, Springfield, IL; Negotiator of the purchase of the Taper Collection, the largest private collection of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia, artifacts, and documents in the world

5.   The Globalization Debate: The Effects of Globalization and What Lies Ahead

      William K. "Bill" Dabaghi
Managing Member, Maxima International LLC, Washington, D.C

6.  Is the Pain Real or Psychogenic? Chronic Pain Management Alternatives

     James S. Flowers, Ph.D.

     President and CEO, Health Trust LLP

7.  Whatever Happened to the War on Drugs?

      Stanley E. Furce

      Director, Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program.

8.  Traditional American Cowboy Music: The Real Songs and Stories

      "The Gillette Brothers" Guy and Pipp Gillette

      Internationally renowned recording artists of cowboy music and poetry; Owners, Camp Street Cafe and Store, Crockett, Texas

9.  The U. S. Banking Crisis

         Samuel P. Golden

         Managing Director and CEO, Alvarez and Marsal Financial Industry Advisory Services. 

10.   Energy Sources:  The Truth about Coal, Wind, Oil and Gas

        Russell D. Gordy

        President, Gordy Oil Company; Managing Partner, SG Interests, Inc.; Managing Partner, RGGS Mineral Operations.

11.  Partriotism, 9-11 and History:  What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You

        James L. Haley

           American Author and Historian.

12.  Patterson vs Harris:  The Last World Heavyweight Title Fight in Wrigley Field Los Angeles

        Roy R. "Cut N' Shoot" Harris

       1958 Boxing Heavyweight Title Contender; 1955 Texas Heavyweight Champion; Montgomery County Clerk for 28 years; Attorney; featured in 1984 biography, "Cut 'N Shoot, Texas:  The Roy Harris Story," by Robin Navarro

13.  Forgive Us Our Press Passes

        Mickey L. Herskowitz

        Warner Endowed Chair in Journalism, Sam Houston State University; award- winning sports columnist for the Houston Chronicle

14.  From Victims to Criminals:  How to Talk to Anyone (and Get Them to Talk to You)

       Jenna L. Jackson

       Producer, CBS News 48 Hours; co-author with correspondent Peter Van Sant, a true-crime book about one of their murder cases, "Perfectly Executed"


15.  A Historical Perspective of Walt Disney Records and the Future of Digital Sales

        Ted Kryczko

          Vice President, A&R Catalog Development, The Walt Disney Company

16.  Marketing Yourself in Today's World:  First Impressions and Creating Your own Value for the Ultimate Career Success

        Brenda J. Love-Jones

        President, Love Advertising, Inc.

17.  The Unthinkable - Who Survives When Disaster Strikes?:  Words of Wisdom from a Real Tsunami Survivor

        Janet Foltyn McAfee

        President, Foreign Operations, a forensics accounting and fraud investigations company serving the oil and gas industry; survived the tsunami in Sri Lanka and bombing in Myanma

18.  The Gallery Story:  How Jim McIngvale took his company from a small store on I-45 to the most profitable furniture store per square foot in America

        Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale

        Owner, Gallery Furniture of Houston; Co-authored the book "Always Think Big." 

19.  The Expropriation of Russia's Largest Oil Company "Yukos" and What It Means About the Rule of Law and Doing Business in Russia

        Bruce K. Misamore

        Former Chief Financial Officer, Yukos Oil Company, Russia.

20.  Oil and Gas - Challenges in the Marketplace

        John Randolph "Randy" Parten

        President, Parten Oil Company, Houston, and President, Acadian Railway Company

21.  Your Favorite Films and Why

        Ralph W. Pease, Ph.D.

        Professor of English, Sam Houston State University; Recipient of the 1987 Piper Professor Award

22.  At the Death House Door

        Reverend Carroll L. Pickett

        Former Chaplain, Texas Department of Criminal Justice; author of "Within These Walls:  Memoirs of a Death House Chaplain."

23.  How to Create Great Art and Save the World at the Same Time

        Gary L. Powell

        Conductor and Session Producer for Walt Disney Records; credits include scoring work, original songs and production on Walt Disney song albums, such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King; five productions have gone Gold and two Platinum

24.  Investigating the Russian Mafia

        Joseph D. Serio

        Criminal Justice doctoral student, Sam Houston State University, and Project Manager, Correctional Management Institute of Texas; 20 years of study on Russian language, culture, and crime; the only American to work in the Organized Crime Control Department of the Soviet Union

25.  Why Are the Cajuns in Louisiana?  The Untold Story

        Terry M. Thibodeaux, Ph. D.

        Professor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Sam Houston State University


2008 Topics

  1. Inside Sports Medicine- What makes them different from you and me ...a tale of the haves and have not's

    T. O. Souryal, M. D.
    Orthopedic Surgeon, Head Team Physician of the Dallas Mavericks, and Host of ESPN Radio's "Inside Sports Medicine"

  2. Making Cancer History

    Dr. Jim Olson
    Author and Distinguished Professor of History-Sam Houston State University

  3. Keeping the American Economy Strong and Competitive

    U. S. Congressman Kevin Brady
    U. S. House of Representatives, 8th District of Texas

  4. Winning the Presidency: What it Takes

    Mr. Mike Yawn
    Assistant Professor of Political Science-Sam Houston State University

  5. How Will the State Pay for Highways? Toll Roads? Gas Taxes?

    Mr. John Thompson
    Chairman of I-69 corridor & County Judge of Polk County

  6. The Imperative of Civility in Democratic Institutions

    Dr. Sam S. Souryal
    Professor of Criminal Justice-Sam Houston State University

  7. Challenges Facing Higher Education

    Dr. Charles Matthews
    Chancellor, The Texas State University System

  8. Closing the Gap: Why the Stars Are Aligned for the P-16 Agenda (College and Career Readiness Initiative)

    Dr. Shirley (Neeley) Richardson
    Immediate Past Texas Commissioner of Education

  9. Lone Survivor:  A Tribute to Courage, Honor and Patriotism
    Mr. Marcus Luttrell
    Retired, Navy Seal & Author of # 1 Best-seller Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10

  10. Contrary to Popular Belief, Classical Music is NOT “Dead”

    Mr. Matthew VanBesien
    Executive Director & CEO-Houston Symphony Orchestra

  11. The Story of the World's Tallest Statue of an American Hero

    Mr. David Adickes
    Huntsville Native, Loyal Texan, World Renowned Artist and Sculptor

  12. Mixing the Ingredients for Success

    Mr. Tony Mandola and Mr. Damian Mandola
    Restaurant entrepreneurs: Mandola's Gulf Coast Kitchen, Damian's, Carrabbas, Mandola's Winery, Trattoria Lisina, Mandola's Family Market

  13. Criticism Management: How to Give and Take Criticism More Effectively

    Dr. Randy Garner
    Professor of Criminal Justice-Sam Houston State University

  14. The Economy: How Are We Doing and Where Are We Going?

    Dr. Jim Bexley
    Smith-Hutson Chair of Banking, Sam Houston State University and Member, Board of Directors, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

  15. Road to Success and Lessons Learned Along the Way

    Mr. Nash D'Amico
    Restaurant entrepreneur: D'Amico's Italian Market Café

  16. Kenedy and King--The Story You Don't Know

    Ms. Jane Monday & Ms. Fran Vick
    Authors of Petra's Legacy: The South Texas Ranching Empire of Petra Vela and Mifflin Kenedy

  17. Palestinians, Jews, Arabs, and Muslims: Who are these Guys?

    Dr. Mitch Roth
    Professor of Criminal Justice-Sam Houston State University

  18. Technology: Good or Bad for the Game?

    Mr. Rich Ballinger
    Director-PGA/PGM Program-Sam Houston State University

  19. Sports and the Real World

    Mr. Mickey Herskowitz
    Author and former Houston Chronicle Journalist

  20. Who Defines Athletics in our Culture Today, & Does it Belong Alongside our Academic Classrooms?

    Mr. Mark Johnson
    Head Baseball Coach-Sam Houston State University

  21. Caring for the World, One Person at a Time

    Mr. Kemper Crabb
    Three-Time Noble Peace Prize Nominee and missionary

  22. The Seven Wonders of the Universe (That You Probably Took for Granted)

    Dr. Renee James
    Associate Professor of Physics-Sam Houston State University

  23. Voices Out of the Desert: Mass Grave Victims of Saddam Hussein's Regime Tell the Details of their Death Through Skeletal Remains

    Dr. Joan Bytheway
    Forensic Anthropologist and Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice-Sam Houston State University

  24. Forensic Science: The Real CSI - Challenges and Triumphs in Forensic Laboratories

    Dr. Sarah Kerrigan
    Forensic Science Program Director, Former State Crime Laboratory Director, and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice-Sam Houston State University

“Wisdom begins in Wonder.” - Socrates