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Aug. 22, 2006

Religious Scholar to Present Meyer Lecture at RSU Oct. 5

Stephen Prothero, a religious scholar from Boston University, will present the seventh annual Maurice Meyer Distinguished Endowed Lecture on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 11:00 a.m. in the Will Rogers Auditorium at Rogers State University.

The title of Prothero's lecture will be "Religious Literacy: What Americans Need to Know about Christianity and the World's Religions." The event is free and open to the public.

Prothero serves as Chairman of the Department of Religion and Director of the Graduate Division of Religious and Theological Studies at Boston University. A historian of American religion, Prothero specializes in Asian religious traditions in the United States and regularly teaches courses on American religious history, Buddhism in America, Hinduism in America, Death and Immortality, and Jesus in America.

His first book, "The White Buddhist: the Asian Odyssey of Henry Steel Olcott" was awarded the Best First Book in the History of Religions for 1996 by the American Academy of Religion. He has published articles in Journal of the American Academy of Religion and American Religion and Culture. He is also the co-editor, with Thomas Tweed, of "Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History" (Oxford University Press, 1998) and the author of "Purified by Fire: A History of Cremation in America" (University of California Press, 2001).

His most recent book is "American Jesus: How the Son of God Became a National Icon" (2003), which chronicles the distinctive "images of Jesus" cherished by the American people from crucified Lord to folk hero, from divinity to celebrity.

The Maurice Meyer Endowed Lectureship was established at RSU in 1999 as a tribute to Sgt. Maurice Meyer by his nephew, Irvin Frank of Tulsa.

Maurice Meyer was a member of Company A, 357 Regiment. He served with distinction as an officer of the 90th Division during the St. Mihiel campaign in France during World War I. He was killed by German shrapnel on Sept. 23, 1918. He died the following day and was accorded a hero's funeral in Tulsa on May 3, 1922.

In 1920 the first barracks were built on the campus of the Oklahoma Military Academy (RSU's predecessor institution). The building was named the Maurice Meyer Barracks in honor of Oklahoma's fallen war hero. Today, the same building, now Meyer Hall, houses the RSU administrative offices and the Oklahoma Military Academy Museum.

The Maurice Meyer Endowed Lectureship is held annually to honor the legacy of the Meyer family and the life of an American who died defending freedom and democracy. The goal of the lectureship is to foster an appreciation for diversity and humanity and to promote tolerance and understanding of other cultures, people and ideas.

For more information, call the RSU Office of Development at (918) 343-7773.