Roland G. Fryer, Jr., a groundbreaking scholar combining the fields of economics and African-American studies, will present the sixth annual Maurice Meyer Distinguished Endowed Lecture on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 11:00 a.m. in the Will Rogers Auditorium at Rogers State University.
The title of Fryer’s lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be “Toward a Unified Theory of Black America: The Racial Achievement Gap and What to Do About It.”
Fryer currently serves as an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University. He has been hailed as a rising star in the academic world for his application of scientific and economic tools to candidly address issue of races and inequality. Fellow Harvard professor Henry Lewis Gates has praised Fryer, noting that the 27-year-old scholar will “raise the analysis of the African-American experience to new levels of rigor and bring economics into the mainstream area of inquiry within the broader field of African-American studies.”
Fryer was raised in an environment where he was exposed to drugs, crime and parental abandonment. For a short time, he lived with his mother in Tulsa, but he was raised primarily by his father in Texas and his grandmother in Florida. A star athlete in high school, Fryer earned an athletic scholarship to the University of Texas-Arlington. While there, he discovered a previously unknown passion for learning. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 2 ½-years, and then went on to earn a doctorate in economics from Penn State University. In 2003, he joined the Society of Fellows at Harvard, one of academia’s most prestigious research posts.
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.