Chad “Corntassel” Smith, principal chief and executive officer of the Cherokee Nation, will provide the third annual Maurice Meyer Distinguished Endowed Lecture at Rogers State University on Tuesday, April 16.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 11 a.m. at RSU’s Will Rogers Auditorium.
The title of the lecture will be “Diversity as a Strategic Asset.”
“The theme is that diversity creates sustaining strategic direction and value, not only in religion and culture, but also in perspective, experience and learning styles,” Smith says.
Smith is an expert in Native American law and has worked to protect and expand the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation through cases involving child welfare, hunting and fishing rights and Indian country jurisdiction. He lives both in Tahlequah and Tulsa and operates a law firm in Tulsa.
He has served as a professor of Indian law at Dartmouth College, Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and at RSU. He also has worked for the Cherokee Tax Commission and the prosecutor’s office in Creek County, Oklahoma. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia, a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree from the University of Tulsa.
He is descended from a long line of prominent Cherokee advocates in Oklahoma.
The Maurice Meyer Endowed Lectureship was established in 1999 as a tribute to Sergeant 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 mortally wounded by German shrapnel on September 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 to honor 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.
The public lecture will be followed by a private luncheon at RSU’s Post Hall.
For more information, call the RSU Office of Development at (918) 343-7773.