The McGee Lecture Series honors the memory of Dr. Joseph McGee, who taught sociology at Marquette for 25 years (1945-1970).  His family members and friends initiated a memorial fund to support annual speakers who address social justice issues.  Recent speakers in the series include:


Elin Stebbins Waldal, author of the award-winning book Tornado Warning: A Memoir Of Teen Dating Violence And Its Effect On A Woman’s Life, spoke as part of the annual McGee Lecture Series on Marquette’s campus. Her book Tornado Warning, a first-person account of intimate partner violence, has been recognized as: a Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold Recipient for 2011 in the Adult Book Category, The 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards Best Parenting Teens Book Winner , and a Finalist in the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards.


Will Allen, founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc., speaks about the urban agricultural movement in North America and around the world. A former NBA player and Corporate Sales executive, Allen was voted among Time magazine’s l00 most Influential Leaders. In 2008, he received a MacArthur Genius Award for his work. Growing Power is a national nonprofit organization and land trust providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market, and distribute food in a sustainable manner.


Dr. Matt Desmond, sociologist and author of Racial Domination, Racial Progress:  The Sociology of Race in America, spoke as part of a panel of scholars and community advocates on race and housing issues in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Desmond's research on rental evictions in Milwaukee shows that during the recent housing crisis, black women are at least twice as likely as men and other racial groups to be evicted.  Desmond also found that landlords use public nuisance laws to justify evicting women who have called 911 regarding domestic abuse incidents.  Dr. Desmond recently received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently a Junior Fellow at Harvard University.


Sarah Buel, clinical professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin, presented "Achieving Justice for Battered Women Defendants."  Buel has worked with battered women and abused children as an advocate and a prosecutor for 32 years.  She has founded and directed several legal and advocacy agencies for supporting battered women, and narrated the 1992 Academy Award winning documentary "Defending our Lives."  In 1996, she was profiled by NBC as one of the five most inspiring women in America.
2009: Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, a national organization dedicated to working for a fair and effective criminal justice system by promoting sentencing law and practice reformations, and alternatives to incarceration. Mr. Mauer spoke on “Losing the Vote: Felony Disenfranchisement and American Democracy.”

2008: Civil rights attorney David Cole, author of two award-winning books, Enemy Aliens and No Equal Justice: Race and Class in the American Criminal Justice System, and law professor at Georgetown University, spoke on “Less Safe, Less Free:  Why America Is Losing the War on Terror.”

2006: Juan Melendez, of the organization Voice United for Justice Project, spent nearly 18 years on death row before he was exonerated and released.  He spoke about his experience:  AMAZING GRACE: An Innocent Man’s Remarkable Story of Survival on Death Row.

2005: Filmmaker Sam Green, director of “The Weather Underground,” an award-winning documentary about the radical 1970s group of young Americans who, fueled by outrage over the Vietnam War and racism in America, announced their intention to overthrow the U.S. government. After the film, Mr. Green spoke about the making of the film.

2004:  Holly Sklar, social advocate and op-ed columnist for Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services and co-author of Raise the Floor: Wages and Policies That Work for All of Us.  Ms. Sklar’s presentation was titled: Stop Being Robbed:  Putting Our Economy and Democracy to Work for Everyone.

2003: Val Jenness, Chair of the Dept of Criminology, Law and Society at UC-Irvine and author of Making Hate a Crime: From Social Movement to Law Enforcement (2001); Hate Crimes: New Social Movements and the Politics of Violence (1997); and Making it Work: The Prostitutes’ Rights Movement in Perspective (1993).  Dr. Jenness spoke on “Making Hate a Crime: The Politicalization of Bias-Motivated Violence in the United States.”



Social and Cultural Sciences Majors

Check out our suggested curriculum for our four majors:

Criminology and Law Studies
Social Welfare and Justice