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LU announces recipient of Distinguished Faculty Lecturer sponsored by Total Petrochemicals and Refining USA, Inc.

Lamar University is proud to announce the 2019 Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series sponsored by Total Petrochemicals and Refining USA, Inc. award recipient Dr. Bryan Proksch.

Proksch’s Distinguished Faculty Lecture, “Music and Oil in Beaumont: John Philip Sousa and the Magnolia Bryan ProkschPetroleum Band,” with the music of Sousa to be performed by students from the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music, will be Tues., Nov. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Setzer Student Center Live Oak Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the presentation.

The award, initiated in 1987, is one of the highest honors accorded a Lamar University faculty member. The entire university and the general community nominate prospective lecturers, and a committee of faculty members and representatives from the student body, staff, administration, alumni, faculty retirees and the community selects the honoree based on the professor’s proposed topic and on his/her professional background and recognized teaching/presentation skills.

“The Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series has become an anticipated tradition on the Lamar University campus,” said Dorothy Sisk, a Lamar University professor in the College of Education and Human Development and chair of the Distinguished Faculty Lecture Series selection committee. “It’s a great way to recognize faculty members who are undertaking really unique but relevant projects and also a means to showcase fascinating topics, to not just the university community, but the community at large.”

Each year the committee chooses a lecturer who expresses the university ideal of searching for knowledge through critical inquiry in his or her own discipline and supports and appreciates critical inquiry in the other disciplines of the university. 

Proksch, who received his Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and serves as an associate professor of music, literature and musicology in the Mary Morgan Moore Department of Music, was selected for his comprehensive research and historic documentation of John Philip Sousa, specifically Sousa’s connection to Beaumont.

“My presentation will cover all four of Sousa’s visits to Beaumont, including a 1906 visit during which the Lucas Oil Company took him on an excursion to open ‘a few gushers’ for him out in the oil fields,” said Proksch, who joined Lamar University in 2013. “It will also look in depth at the Magnolia Band’s membership and music.”

Proksch is the author of “A Sousa Reader: Essays, Interviews, and Clippings,” a unique collection of articles that reveal fascinating information about Sousa. He has written numerous articles and presented papers on Sousa and Industrial Bands in the early 1920s. Proksch has successfully received grants to support collaborative research with students and was awarded an honorary membership in the national music sorority, Sigma Alpha Iota in recognition of distinguished contributions in support of the musical arts at the national level.

One of Proksch most recent articles, entitled “Music and Oil in Beaumont: A History of the Magnolia Petroleum Band,” is the theme of the Distinguished Faculty Lecture.

"This presentation is so important for all of us to know more about the phenomenal history of oil in southeast Texas,” said Sisk. "How super that the participants of this 2019 DFL will be able to hear a lecture and experience the fantastic music of Sousa."