Rock and Roll Hall of Fame executive to appear in West Virginia Feb. 26 and 27

Dr. Lauren Onkey, Vice President of Education and Public Programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio, will deliver lectures in Charleston and Huntington Feb. 26 and 27 as part of the Graduate Humanities Major Scholar Seminars. This is an initiative offered in partnership with the Glenwood Center for Scholarship in the Humanities.

Her appearance is part of the Spring 2015 Major Scholar Seminar, “Fight the Power: Can Pop Music Foster Social Change?” More information is on the Graduate Humanities Program website at

Onkey’s campus lectures are part of a Marshall University and West Virginia State University series of collaborative events. She will speak first at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, in room 122 Wallace Hall on the campus of WVSU, with a lunch/reception catered by Charleston-based Blues BBQ. Her lecture is titled “Stevie Wonder’s Social Vision.”

At 2 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27,  Onkey will be on Marshall’s Huntington campus, in room BE-5 of the Memorial Student Center, to deliver a lecture titled “Dancing in the Street: Rock and Roll and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1964.” Onkey’s MU talk is jointly sponsored by the Graduate Humanities Program, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Departments of History, Political Science, and Psychology.

Onkey is the executive producer of the museum’s American Music Masters series and regularly conducts interviews for the museum’s many public programs. In addition, she teaches rock and roll history courses at Case Western Reserve University.

Onkey’s participation is part of the Major Scholars Program, which is designed to engage Marshall University Graduate Humanities students in scholarly activity with major outside scholars and public intellectuals. The objective of the current course is to explore how pop music has been used by musicians, fans and social activists to fight, disrupt and conserve social norms of all kinds. According the Graduate Humanities website, “Popular music has been associated with social change and even protest ever since rock and roll exploded in the 1950s. The music and its fan base helped fight racial segregation. At times musicians and activists have put the music to use specifically to further a cause or advance a message.”

After 12 years of planning, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened in September 1995. Since the museum’s opening, more than 8 million visitors from around the world have visited and an estimated 50,000 students and educators each year are reached through its education programs both on site and at distant sites. Located on the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, their mission is to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. The museum collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art through its library and archives as well as its educational programs. One of their many functions is to recognize the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll by inducting them into the Hall of Fame.

The Glenwood Center for Scholarship in the Humanities is a public-private partnership involving Marshall University, West Virginia State University and the Historic Glenwood Foundation. It is housed at the Glenwood estate, home to many of the Kanawha Valley’s pioneer families, on Charleston’s west side. More about the center can be found on Marshall’s website at