2015 MSU Convocation


Lacks Family with Skloot

  Watch the 2015 Freshman Convocation live!

The 2015 Freshman Convocation speech by Rebecca Skloot, author of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” and a live question and answer period following with Skloot and members of Henrietta Lacks’ family will be streamed live to the MSU campuses in Billings, Bozeman, Great Falls and Havre. The streaming is restricted to computers on the Great Falls College MSU, MSU-Billings, MSU-Bozeman, and MSU-Northern campuses.

Event Information

Wednesday, August 26, 2015
7:30 p.m.
Brick Breeden Fieldhouse


Convocation is free and open to the public. However, tickets must be acquired for seating. Tickets are available beginning August 3rd at 10:00 am through all Bobcat Ticket outlets including:

  • The Bobcat Ticket Office
  • The AskUs Desk in the SUB
  • Rosauers
  • By calling 994-CATS or (800) 325-7328
  • Online at www.ticketswest.com

Discovery Changes Everything

Presentation by Rebecca Skloot, author of New York Times’ bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This is an opportunity to meet MSU students, connect with faculty and staff, and listen to the inspiring words of Rebecca Skloot, author of the New York Times’ bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, as well as members of the Lacks family as they tell the story of the woman whose cells were harvested without her knowledge and used for discoveries that launched a scientific revolution that has changed our world.

History knows her as HeLa, the source of the cells that launched discoveries that revolutionized science. HeLa cells have been used to develop the polio vaccine, in groundbreaking cancer research, the battle against AIDS and the effects of radiation and toxic substances, the breakthrough tool for gene mapping, as well as other scientific advances.

But at the center of the phenomena of the paradigm-breaking cells was Henrietta Lacks, a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells were taken from her without her knowledge in 1951, a year before her death from cancer. Her cells have been replicated and bought and sold by the billions, yet Lacks remains virtually unknown, and her family has not profited from the multi-million dollar industry that has arisen from the use of her unusually prolific cells.

Join author Rebecca Skloot and members of the Lacks family as they tell the true story of Henrietta Lacks and discuss what happens when issues of ethics, race and scientific discovery collide.

Welcome from President Waded Cruzado and ASMSU President Gwynn Simeniuk.


Book Cover

Common Reading

In preparation for Montana State University’s 2015 Convocation, students will read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. 


Master Class with Rebecca Skloot and members of the Lacks family

On Thursday, August 27th, from 9:30-10:30 am, MSU students will have the opportunity to meet Rebecca Skloot and members of the Lacks family for a Master Class.  Students who are interested in attending the class are required to read the book and are invited to apply for the Master Class online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SKLOOT.  Students must submit their applications by 5:00 pm on August 14, 2015.


Convocation Guide

Explore information about the MSU 2015 Convocation speaker Rebecca Skloot and the common read of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks on the MSU Library’s Convocation 2015 page.  



MSU Stadium

All Incoming MSU Freshmen will be invited to pose for a photo in the shape of an “M” on the football field.

Members of MSU’s incoming freshman class have reserved seats and will not need tickets to attend the event.  All Incoming MSU Freshmen will meet at Bobcat Stadium, across the street from the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, at 6:15 pm on August 26th to receive a free T-shirt and pose for a photo in the shape of an “M” on the football field, followed by a procession led by Champ and the Spirit of the West Marching Band into the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse for Convocation. 


One Book One Bozeman

One Book One Bozeman is a community-wide read program designed to encourage engaged discussion and literacy through the reading of a common book. The Bozeman Public Library is partnering with Bozeman Schools and local businesses to bring a successful and comprehensive program to our town to promote community building and civic engagement. In collaboration with the 2015 MSU Convocation, the community is invited to attend a discussion with members of the Lacks family on Thursday, August 27th, at the Bozeman Public Library.  More details to come. 


                   BPLF                                          Humanities Montana        


For more information, please contact:

Martha A. Potvin
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


Disabled students wishing to request an accommodation may contact 406-994-2824.


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