A hero of the 1960s civil rights movement coming to FHSU

Diane Nash, veteran of the 1960s civil rights movement -- a leader in the lunch-counter protests in the Nashville sit-ins and an active member of the Freedom Riders -- will speak at Fort Hays State University's Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center a 7 p.m. Thursday, March 27.

Nash's appearance, part of the FHSU Women's Leadership Project celebration of Women's History Month, is open the public. Admission is free. Nash will also be the keynote lecturer at 3:30 p.m. that day for the American Association of University Women in the Robbins Center.

Nash's trip to Hays began as a class project for a graduate leadership course, "Principles of Civic Leadership." She was the subject of a class presentation by Nicole Walz, Garden City graduate student.

"As one of my role models, I was honored to do a class presentation about Ms. Nash and her civic duties during the Civil Rights Movement, most widely recognized as the Freedom Riders and the Nashville Lunch Counter Sit-Ins," said Walz. 

"The one thing that repeatedly stood out to me while doing research about Nash was her age. She was my age, my peers' age, and doing this incredible work. This spurred the thought, 'What would it take to get her here to share her motivation and empower the Fort Hays State University community similarly?' The rest was made possible by Dr. Curt Brungardt and his impressive staff at the Center for Civic Leadership."

Dr. Curt Brungardt, Omer G. Voss Distinguished Professor of Leadership Studies at FHSU and CCL director, teaches Principles of Civil Leadership.

"We study the civil rights movement of the 1960s as a tool to teach community organizing," he said. The course focuses on the work of civil rights leaders John Lewis and Nash.

He said Walz, after her class presentation on Nash last fall, turned to him and said, "Why don't we bring Ms. Nash to campus?"

"Several days later and after she did some initial research," he said, "Nicole approached me about what it would take to bring Diane Nash to campus." Brungardt then reached out to "a dozen different university departments and asked if they would help provide the resources."

"Within 10 days we had raised the needed funds," he said.

Nash's visit is sponsored by FHSU's Center for Civic Leadership (CCL), the American Democracy Project, the Center for Student Involvement, the College of Arts and Sciences, Forsyth Library, the Department of History, the Department of Leadership Studies, the Office of Student Affairs, the Department of Political Science, the Office of the Provost, the Department of Sociology and Social Work, University Relations, the Women's Leadership Project, and Jana's Campaign Inc.

For more information, contact the WLP by phone at 785-625-4312 or by email at womensleadershipproject@fhsu.edu.

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