Billings to be 33rd Annual Harry Lee Waterfield Distinguished Lecture Series Speaker

Northern Kentucky University law professor Roger D. Billings Jr. will be the guest speaker at the 2009 Harry Lee Waterfield Distinguished Lecture Series, Thursday, April 16, at 7:30 p.m. on the campus of Murray State University. This marks the 33rd anniversary of the annual program. Held in the Curris Center Theatre, the program is free and open to everyone on campus as well as community members throughout the region. Billings’ presentation, “A. Lincoln: A Kentucky Politician,” will include discussion on the lingering influence that living in Kentucky during his early years had on Abraham Lincoln.

Currently of Highland Heights, Ky., Billings has taught a variety of law-related classes at the Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University since 1972.

Billings attended Wabash College in Crawfordville, Ind., where he majored in history and German, receiving a bachelor of arts degree. he spent his junior year studying abroad at the University of Vienna in Austria. Post graduation, he attended law school at George Washington University, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Akron, where he received his juris doctorate. He was admitted to the Ohio Bar Association in 1969.

Billings is well known for his interest and study of the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Billings has been a repeat speaker on the life of Lincoln as a lawyer and has published several works on the man. He is the recipient of the Justice Lukowsky Outstanding Professor Award, as well as the Fulbright-University of Salzburg Distinguished Chair in Law in Austria in 2004.

He has had five books and nearly a dozen articles published since 1968, and has given several presentations concerning law-oriented issues. His most recent article related to his interest in Abraham Lincoln is “A. Lincoln, Debtor-Creditor Lawyer” and was published in the Journal of Illinois History in the summer of 2005. Related to his Lincoln interest, Billings has also had an article published in the Northern Kentucky Law Review titled “Salmon P. Chase and the Great Lincoln Biographers” in 1993.

MSU’s annual lecture is named in honor of the late Harry Lee Waterfield, who grew up in Calloway County and graduated from Murray State in 1932. A distinguished figure in both private and public sectors, Waterfield founded Investors Heritage Life Insurance Co. and was twice elected lieutenant governor of Kentucky. During his lifetime, he made many contributions to Murray State University as a member of the board of regents and chairman of the MSU Foundation board of trustees.

Because of his generosity, scholarships are awarded to academically successful students in political science and public administration who plan to pursue careers in state and local government or a related field. Thousands of dollars have been donated by him and his friends for departmental scholarships to be awarded in his name.

The Waterfield Lecture is sponsored by the department of government, law and international affairs in the college of humanities and fine arts. Honorary political science society Pi Sigma Alpha also provides support.

For more information, call (270) 809-2661.

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