The Beall-Russell Lectures in the Humanities were established in 1982 with a financial gift from Virginia B. Ball of Muncie, Ind. She named the lecture series in honor of her mother, Mrs. John A. Beall, and Lily Russell, former dean of women at Baylor, both Baylor alumnae of the Class of 1910.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic and institution builder, Professor Gates has authored seventeen books and created fourteen documentary films. Host of the popular show Finding Your Roots, Professor Gates is one of the United States' most influential cultural critics and is both an eloquent commentator and formidable intellectual force on multicultural and African American issues.