Presbyterian society to present historical lectures

Release Date: 2/13/2013

The Presbyterian Historical Society of the Southwest will sponsor three historical presentations of local significance March 1-2 at University of the Ozarks as part of the organization's annual winter meeting.

On Friday, March 1, at 7:15 p.m., James Hauser, vice president and owner of Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, will present a talk on the history of the stained glass windows in the Munger Memorial Chapel on the U of O campus. At 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 2, Susan Smith Epperson will discuss the landmark 1968 U.S. Supreme Court Case Epperson vs. Arkansas. And, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 2, the Rev. Don Campbell will present a talk titled, "1957 Little Rock Central High School Integration Crisis: The Response of Presbyterians and Others."

All three of the lectures will be held in the Rogers Conference Center, located in the Seay Student Center on the U of O campus. The events are free and open to the public.

Susan Smith Epperson

Susan Smith Epperson, a 1962 Ozarks graduate and the plaintiff in the 1968 landmark U.S. Supreme Court Case Epperson vs. Arkansas, will be one of the featured speakers during the Presbyterian Historical Society of the Southwest's annual winter meeting, which will be March 1-2 on the U of O campus.

Hauser's talk will provide a history of the stained glass windows in Munger Chapel, which was completed in 1933 and is on the National Historical Register. The chapel's stained-glass windows were designed and installed by the Henry Willet Studios of Philadelphia. The Willet Hauser Architectural Glass studio was formed through the 1977 merger of two American stained glass studios: the Willet Stained Glass Studios and the Hauser Art Glass Company.

Epperson, a 1962 Ozarks graduate and daughter of long-time Ozarks professor Dr. T.L. "Prof" Smith, will speak about her role in the Epperson vs. Arkansas Supreme Court case. As a young high school biology teacher, Epperson was chosen by the Arkansas Education Association to be the plaintiff in the 1968 landmark case that led to the declaration that Arkansas' 1928 anti-evolution statute was unconstitutional and consequently opened the door to the eradication of similar laws in other states. The case is still considered a major victory for biology teachers in the United States. Epperson is a faculty member at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

The Rev. Campbell of Little Rock will speak about the backlash of several groups, both Presbyterian-affiliated and others, to the 1957 Little Rock High School integration crisis. Among the organizations Campbell will include in his talk will be the Women's Emergency Committee, the Panel of American Women and Stop This Outrageous Purge (STOP).

The Presbyterian Historical Society of the Southwest includes members from Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. It exists to "stimulate and encourage interest in the collection, preservation, and presentation of the Presbyterian and Reformed heritage in the four state area," according to the society's bylaws.