Southeast Missouri State University

MICHAEL DAVIS died February 15, 1994, of injuries he sustained in a fraternity hazing incident. He was a journalism student in the Department of Mass Communication at Southeast Missouri State University at the time of his tragic death. In 1997, the department held the first Michael Davis Lecture to honor his memory as part of the University's Black History Month activities. The Michael Davis Lecture continues each year, with a special guest invited from the mass media. 

Previous Lectures

2013 - KEITH REEDS, is a Senior Editor at ESPN Magazine.

2005 - REGGIE MURPHY, Ph.D., is Director of Research Services for Gannett, Co. Inc.  Murphy is responsible for managing consumer research projects for Gannett’s 101 daily newspapers and websites. These consumer-focused research studies are designed to assist newspaper management in developing strategies geared towards increasing readership, circulation, advertising revenue, and brand loyalty.

Prior to his position with Gannett, Murphy worked as Marketing Research Manager for USA TODAY where he was responsible for managing a team of research analysts and projects designed to better understand the attitudes, motivations, lifestyle, and behavior of the USA TODAY reader. He was also responsible for the analysis, interpretation, and dissemination of these results plus recommendations to the editorial, circulation, advertising, and marketing departments so they would have solid information to make key decisions and build on the overall strategic vision of growing the USA TODAY brand. Murphy also managed customized research projects for USA TODAY’s advertising clients such as, GM, FedEx, Intel, IBM, and ESPN.

Before joining USA TODAY, Murphy worked as a market research analyst for Frank N. Magid Associates, Inc., where he managed customized market research projects for local television stations, cable networks, fortune 500 companies, and media industry associations such as, United Airlines, AARP, Hubbard Broadcasting, WorldNow,,, PROMAX, and RTNDA.

2004 - OFIELD DUKES, a Washington D.C.-based public relations exective, presented the lecture on February 15, 2004. In 1964, he became the Deputy Director of Information during the Johnson-Humphrey administration, and has been a communication consultant for every Democratic Presidental candidate since 1972. He has been identified as one of Washington's most influential public relations executives. 

Dukes spent several years working at WCHB radio as the news director after graduating from Wayne State University in Detroit with a degree in journalism. He then went to The Michigan Chronicle where he won three awards for writing in 1964. In 1969, he established Ofield Dukes & Associates, a firm with clients such as Motown, Sony Music Entertainment, RJR Nabisco and the  Congressional Black Caucus. 

Dukes is the founder of the Black Public Relations Society of Washington and he has been inducted into the Public Relations Society Hall of Fame. 

2003 - GERALD M. BOYD was named managing editor of The New York Times in September 2001, after having served as deputy managing editor for news since September 1997. He has also served as the co-senior editor of the Times's "How Race is Lived in America" series, which was published in 2000 and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting.

Boyd started as a copyboy at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in the early 1970's and spent 10 years working his way up to being the newspaper's White House coorespondent. 

He attended the University of Missouri under a scholarship sponsored by The Post-Dispatch. He graduated in 1973 with a bachelor's degree in Journalism. In 1977, he founded the St. Louis Association of Black Journalists and served as its first president. Boyd attended Harvard University in 1980 as a Neiman Fellow, the youngest journalist at the time to be selected to the program.

2002GEORGE E. CURRY is editor-in-chief of the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service and His weekly national affairs column is syndicated by NNPA to more than 200 African-American Newspapers, with a combined readership of 15 million.

Prior to joining the NNPA, Curry was editor-in-chief of Emerge: Black America’s Newsmagazine from 1993 until June 2000. He is immediate past president of the American and non-New York based editor to hold the association’s top office.

Curry became the founding director of the St. Louis Minority Journalism Workshop in 1977.  Seven years later, he became founding director of the Washington Association of Black Journalists’ annual high school journalism workshop. In February 1990, Curry organized a similar workshop for the New York Association of Black Journalists.

2001 - ALVIN R. STYLES, vice president/director of research for Burrell Advertising Inc., was the 2001 Michael Davis Lecturer.

Prior to joining Burrell, Styles served as manager, Product Development and Market Research at Embassy Suites Hotels, Dallas, Texas; as marketing research brand supervisor at Proctor & Gamble; as marketing research associate at Anderson Clayton Foods in Dallas, Texas; and as associate research director at Tracy Locke Advertising, Dallas, Texas.

Styles is responsible for conducting customized research for the development of marketing and creative strategies. He is also responsible for agency research to determine consumer and industry behavior and attitudes affecting client products and services.

2000 - SHIRLEY STAPLES CARTER, Director of the School of Communication at Witchita State University, was the first African American elected president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication (ASJMC), an international organization of 25 administrators of undergraduate and graduate programs in journalism and mass communication.

Her publications include a textbook on mass communication in the information age, and several articles on public relations writing, advertising copywriting, religion in the media, film audiences, and problems and opportunities in journalism and mass communication education and administration.

As a media professional, Carter has served as a public radio and television producer,  a newspaper managing editor in Alabama, a news reporter in Ohio and Virginia, and public relations and information officer in Alabama, Texas and Missouri.

1999 - CHUCK STONE, a two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, was the 1999 Michael Davis Lecturer. He served as a White House correspondent during the Kennedy administration. He has edited three major African American newspapers - the New York Age, the Washington Afro-American and the Chicago Daily Defender. In 1975, he was the founding president of the National Association of Black Journalists, which awarded him its lifetime achievement award in 1992. He was also one of founding members of the national Center for Fair and Open Testing, on whose board of directors he currently serves. His more than 150 awards include the Free Spirit Award, the Freedom Forum's highest honor. He has served as a commentator on the Today Show, was a senior editor at the Philadelphia Daily News, and hosted a PBS program called Another Voice. The Walter Spearman Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina is the author of numerous books and articles, and the is a media and political analyst for WTVD-TV in Durham, North Carolina.

1998 - INEZ Y. KAISER, president of Inez Kaiser & Associates of Kansas City, was the 1998 Michael Davis Lecturer. She is the first African American women to own a public relations agency.

1997 - MARILYN KERN-FOXWORTH, then a Texas A&M University and now at Florida A&M University, was the 1997 Michael Davis Lecturer. She is the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in advertising.