The local BM chapter of the P.E.O. education philanthropy will feature award-winning essayist and author Mark Darrah on April 5 in conjunction with Rogers State University’s Carl G. and Gladys L. Herrington Distinguished Lecture Series.
His presentation, entitled “Tales and Thoughts of the Extraordinary Common,” will be held 10 a.m., Thursday, April 5, in the Dr. Carolyn Taylor Center Ballroom on RSU’s Claremore campus. Admission is $10 and includes brunch. Tickets are available from any PEO member or by calling the RSU Foundation office at 918-343-7773.
Darrah has been hailed as a post-modern Paul Harvey, and his style has been compared to the works of historian, essayist and commentator Sarah Vowell. His book, “A Catalogue of Common People,” is a collection of true stories about real people and places who are anything but common. Reviewer John Wooley notes that the book explores “what it means to be a thinking and feeling human being in 21st Century America.” He also is known for known for his commentaries broadcast on Studio Tulsa, KWGS 89.5 FM.
Copies of the book are available in Claremore at the RSU campus bookstore in the Taylor Center or at Boarding House Books, 300 W. Will Rogers Blvd.
Darrah’s writing has appeared in “Distinctly Oklahoma,” “The Oklahoma Bar Journal,” and “Cottonwood,” the literary journal of the University of Kansas, among other publications. In the early days of the Web 2.0, he free-lanced as an ezine writer and blogger. Darrah wrote some of the first performance mysteries produced in Oklahoma and Arkansas. He’s also had an Amazon best-selling novel published under a nom de plume.
Studio Tulsa began regularly broadcasting his commentaries in 2009. Mark taught practical creative writing skills in Tulsa Community College’s non-credit program for nearly a half decade. He is a well-liked teacher and an in demand public speaker.
The son of a United Methodist minister and his wife, Mark lived in seven different Oklahoma communities before graduating from Tahlequah High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California and completed his legal studies at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.
By day, Darrah maintains a solo legal practice in Tulsa focusing on general civil and probate, which he says is “about the closest thing to a small town practice one can have in the city.” He also manages the family’s land run farm and, in his spare time, is an amateur fiddler. Mark lives with his wife, Jackie, and their wonder dog, Chipper, in a space age neighborhood in midtown Tulsa. He considers taking care of his parents in their final years his greatest accomplishment.
The late Carl G. and Gladys L. Herrington established the Herrington Distinguished Lectureship Endowment in 1989 through the RSU Foundation as a way to provide exceptional educational opportunities for students. Mr. Herrington, a retired Exxon executive, served on the RSU Foundation Board of Directors and was a long-time supporter of the university. In 1990, RSU awarded him with the Jefferson Fellow Award. Herrington Hall, which houses the institution’s School of Professional Studies, was named in honor of the Herrington family in 1995. Darrah will meet with RSU students in a separate event as part of this RSU lecture series.