The Midwest Comes South: An Evening with Garrison Keillor


Garrison Keillor is best known for his Prairie Home Companion, but he occasionally goes on the road without his entourage.  Even solo, he is quite the entertainer.

Keillor stopped n Houston on Wednesday, January 27th, and he spent a wonderful two hours discussing his background, his career, and all the while telling wonderful stories, singing the occasional song, and telling jokes.

Although Keillor has written for The New Yorker, he is best known for his midwestern musings, discussing the qualities that make up middle America: religion, literature, and family life.  Central to his stories is “Lake Wobegon,” a fictional place where all the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the kids are above average.”

Among his songs, jokes and tales, our favorites:

  • Song: The Ballad of Sergeant Musgrave
  • Jokes:
    • Where do you find a dog with no legs?  Right where you left him.
  • Tales: Several tales, really, involving his aunts and uncles.  The wedding tale involved a duck decoy that doubled as a duck-blind; a naked para-sailor; a poorly-dressed lover named Raul; Babe Ruth’s last home-run ball; and a car wreck by the prospective bride and groom.

Keillor closed the evening to the strains of “Red River Valley” and “Goodnight Irene.”

Following the event, Keillor signed books and other memorabilia.  He spent much time with individuals.  Rather than have the line come to him, he would sign and then move himself to the next person, even going up the stairs of Jones Hall.


To Ryan Brim, who is in a quest for the right college, Keillor offered: “You’ll never need math.”  Following a couple of minutes of conversation, Keillor signed Ryan’s book, “Lighten up, Ryan.”




LEAP Center Hosts Law-School/Grad-School Seminar

Almost fifty students attended the Law School/Grad School Seminar hosted by the Center for Law, Engagement, And Politics (LEAP) earlier this month. The seminar featured Karissa Morissey from Princeton Review; Stephen Perez, Dean of Students at Texas Tech Law School; Kathryn Meyer, Director of Recruitment from the Bush School at Texas A&M University; and Thomas Leeper, attorney with Smither, Martin, Henderson, and Blazek.

Students and Panelists at the LEAP Center Legal Seminar
Students & Panelists at LEAP Seminar

Their advice was to the point and useful. Karissa Morrissey provded a helpful overview of the LSAT and GRE, offering a timeline for preparing for graduate school or law school. High points included:

  • The LSAT ranges from 120-180; The GRE ranges from 130-170
  • The LSAT is offered four times a year (Feb, Jun, Oct, Dec), while the GRE offers more frequent tests
  • The LSAT should be taken approximately a year prior to when the students wants to enroll in Law School.
  • The Princeton Review offers Prep Courses at SHSU in the spring of each year.

Dean Stephen Perez stressed the importance of the LSAT Scores and a student’s GPA, while pointing to Tech’s strong rates on bar passage, employment, and the excellent performance of students in Moot Court and Mock Trials.  Also, the National Jurist magazine ranked Tech among the top 10 in the country in both “overall value” and “student satisfaction.” Perhaps not surprisingly, more SHSU students are enrolling in Tech, with four Bearkats matriculating last year.  Dean Perez seems to be intent on duplicating that success this year, offering the students who attended the seminar fee waivers to apply to Texas Tech.

Dean Perez Discusses Law School Admissions
Perez Discusses Law School Admissions

Kathryn Meyer caught students’ attention when she discussed the programs of the Bush School of Public Service. The Bush School is a top 35 Public Administration across the country, featuring broad programs in Administration and International Affairs and endeavoring to keep students’ costs low.  SHSU boasts more graduates at the Bush School than any other University in the nation with the exception of Texas A & M.

Thomas Leeper’s discussion bridged both law and public affairs.  Leeper has served as an attorney in private practice, a city attorney, and a political appointee.  Leeper discussed life in law school (giving particular attention to the Socratic Method), the kind of work that attorneys do, and the importance of public service.

The Center for Law, Engagement, And Politics (LEAP) promotes learning opportunities across diverse disciplines at SHSU.  Over the past seven years, SHSU has significantly increased its efforts in the pre-law field, doubling the number of students accepted to law schools in the United States.  Moreover, last year, SHSU moved in the top five percent nationally in the Law School Admissions Council’s (LSAC) ranking of “Law School Feeders.”