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The Annual Gene DeGruson Memorial Lectures

1999 | 2000 | 2001A | 2001B | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009

The Gene DeGruson Memorial Lecture is an event sponsored by the Friends of the Leonard H. Axe Library to honor the memory of Mr. Gene DeGruson, Southeast Kansas scholar, writer and editor and pioneering archivist and curator of Special Collections at Axe Library, who died on June 18th, 1997. Gene founded the Special Collections department in 1968, and spent the next twenty-nine years building it into a rich treasure trove of knowledge on local history as well as an archive for Pittsburg State University. He also wrote and edited books and journals of poetry, history and biography.

Gene, who was frequently referred to as a living encyclopedia on Kansas history and culture, loved to share his knowledge with others in the form of lectures, speeches, readings and performances. The Friends of Axe continue to honor that tradition by sponsoring its annual lecture every year on October 10th, Gene's birthday. Our lectures have covered famous Southeast Kansas personalities such as socialist publisher J.A. Wayland, famous Christian writer Charles Sheldon or PSU educator Margaret Haughawout. In 2002, we hosted the nationally famous sports artist Ted Watts as our lecturer, combining the event with an art exhibition.

Our guest for 2008 was Mr. Shelby Horn, attorney and one of Gene's best friends and closest collaborators. Mr. Horn presented a talk about Gene's much loved pet project The Little Balkans Review. This year, our 2009 event will be particularly exciting because it will have 2 guests and include musical performances besides a lecture. Our lecture, entitled Cowboy Heaven... Carson Robison and His Influence on Modern Country and Western Music, is about the famous singer, songwriter and disc jockey Carson Robison and how he helped found modern country and western music. Our lecturer is John Kendrick, recent winner of a masters in communication here at PSU; and our performer is Alva McNeely, board member of the Marmaton Chapter, Kansas Old Time Fiddlers and Pickers, and a talented player of the fiddle, guitar and mandolin. It will take place on October 8th at 7 PM in the Special Collections Department of Axe Library (basement).

Last Modified: Sep 14, 2009 - 12:13

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