University Relations and Communications


March 6, 2018



MSU Billings Library announces spring lecture series

Five-part weekly series, “Vietnam 50 Years Later” begins March 13



University Relations and Communications, 657-2266


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The Montana State University Billings Library is pleased to announce its spring lecture series, “Vietnam 50 Years Later.”


The weekly, five-part series takes place Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m., beginning March 13. They will be held in MSUB Library room 148, except April 3, which will be in Cisel Hall room 135.


The public is invited to attend the series, which is free of charge. A light reception follows each lecture.


“The purpose of the lecture series is to be free, fun, entertaining, educational, and informative. The Library likes to partner, showcase, and share the wealth of knowledge that exists in the high-caliber, talented faculty here at MSU Billings,” commented Library Director Darlene Hert. “In addition, one of the goals of the library lecture series is to welcome and invite the greater Billings community to campus.”


The series opens on March 13, with a presentation by Dr. Keith Edgerton, MSUB Department Chair and Professor of History. His talk, “I Love the Smell of Napalm in the Morning: Vietnam from Hollywood to Ken Burns” highlights how Hollywood and documentary filmmakers have treated the Vietnam War since the 1960s. Dr. Edgerton will also examine how films have reflected American society’s evolving attitudes about the war and all those who were involved.


DISCLAIMER: The film clips in the first lecture contain violence, coarse language, and other disturbing content and will not be suitable for minors.


Dr. Edgerton has been a professor of history at MSUB for over 20 years, and serves as the chair of the history department. He currently teaches American history, environmental history, Montana history, and history of Vietnam. Edgerton holds a B.A. and a M.A. from the University of Montana, as well as Ph.D. from Washington State University. He is no stranger to presentations, as he has published several books and given numerous speeches on many western history topics.


On March 20, Communication & Theatre Professors Dr. Melissa Boehm and Dr. Samuel Boerboom will present “Female Voices of the Vietnam War.” Their lecture will focus on the experiences of several female journalists and activists who provided firsthand accounts of the Vietnam War. They will highlight the role of these women in the war and the challenges they faced. Women provided unique perspectives into the US’s involvement with Southeast Asia during the time. These views have had lasting effects on journalism and how the war is portrayed.


Both Dr. Boehm and Dr. Boerboom are currently Communication & Theatre professors at MSUB and are excited to present this topic. Dr. Boerboom has been with MSUB since 2012, and was chosen as the Winston & Helen Cox Fellowship Award recipient in 2016.


Political Science Professor Dr. Paul Pope will present, “The Supreme Court and the First Amendment: From Protests to Symbolic Speech,” on March 27. Dr. Pope will talk about the right of free speech and how taking a closer look at the constitution and Supreme Court precedents helps us to understand its limits. Dr. Pope noted that, “The ability of people to speak their minds freely is essential for a functional democracy. Quite often however, we lose sight of the difference between what is simply offensive speech and what is legally a protected right.” The goal of his lecture is to examine how protest and symbolic speech have evolved since the Vietnam era and focus on this principle in the constitution.


Dr. Pope has been teaching at MSUB for over five years and is a tenure-track professional. He has served in the Academic Senate for several years as Secretary, and has been heavily involved with the university. Dr. Pope received a faculty excellence award in 2017.


On April 3, several members of the department of music will showcase, “Music of the Vietnam Era… Beyond Protest.” Dr. Mark Fenderson, Dr. Scott Jeppesen, and Mr. Doug Nagel, accompanied by Ms. Stephanie Davis, will examine music during this era. They will feature how the powerful cultural and political climate of the war influenced music and vice versa.


Billings Gazette Editor and Communication and Theatre faculty member Mr. Darrel Ehrlick will wrap up the lecture series on April 10 with his lecture, “Vietnam Voices.” Ehrlick has dedicated his time to contacting local Vietnam veterans and hearing their stories. He has communicated with 79 veterans and logged more than 105 hours of video. His presentation will show highlights of this work and focus on significant moments from his interviews.


“People around campus as well as the community look forward to the Library Lecture Series,” said Hert. “They can’t wait to find out what’s coming up next. A lot of people in the community tell us that they plan their social calendar around the Library Lecture Series.”


Hert shared that the Library is looking forward to this series because, “We have some knowledgeable, interesting, phenomenal faculty in the program lineup. People should come because it’s a chance to get out of the house and enjoy a night of free, fun, educational entertainment.”


For more information, contact Library Director Darlene Hert at 406-657-1655, or


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