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Sister Helen Prejean is a well-known author and activist against the death penalty.

OLLI at OSU to host special series Prelude to Justice: Art, Reform and the Work of Sister Helen Prejean

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Media Contact: Christy Lang | Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-9740 |

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Oklahoma State University (OLLI at OSU), in partnership with the Oklahoma Humanities Council, the OSU Michael and Anne Greenwood School of Music and the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts, is hosting a special series that will explore jurisprudence, the criminal justice system and recovery through art. 

Prelude to Justice: Art, Reform and the Work of Sister Helen Prejean is a unique experience that will inspire and educate.

The five-week, six-session series begins on July 29 and is open to the public. All events take place at the McKnight Center for the Performing Arts on the Oklahoma State University campus in Stillwater. In addition, participation via live stream will be available for those outside of Stillwater. The cost is $40 for OLLI at OSU members and $50 for non-members. Visit to learn more and to register.

The author of Dead Man Walking and River of Fire, Prejean has ministered to those on death row and her activism has been instrumental in sparking national dialogue on capital punishment.

The Prelude to Justice series will feature a movie viewing along with panel and book discussions. Prejean will join via live stream for two classes, including an interactive question-and-answer session. The series concludes Aug. 28 with a live operatic performance by OSU Greenwood School of Music mezzo-soprano April Golliver-Mohiuddin, along with collaborative pianist Megan Barth Argo and assisted by Erin Murphy (flute) and Emma Draves (contemporary dance), featuring works composed by Jake Heggie and words by Prejean. A description of each session is included below.

To reserve tickets for Prelude to Justice: Art, Reform and the Work of Sister Helen Prejean, contact OLLI at OSU at 405-744-5868. OLLI at OSU serves adults age 50 and better through educational programming, travel and social activities to enrich participants’ quality of life. Learn more at

Series Schedule and Descriptions

Prelude to Justice: Art, Reform and the Work for Sister Helen Prejean

Session 1, Thursday, July 29, 6 p.m. – Series Introduction

Sister Helen Prejean,  OSU Greenwood School of Music professor April Golliver-Mohiuddin, McKnight Center education and community engagement manager Darin Williams, OLLI at OSU director Robbin Davis and jurisprudence scholar Arthur "Art" LeFrancois.

Session 2, Thursday, Aug. 5, 6 p.m. - Movie Viewing Dead Man Walking

Includes a cinematic introduction by OSU alumna Dr. Vickie Sturgeon.

• Please note, the movie will not be available via live stream.

Session 3, Thursday, Aug. 12, 6 p.m. - Panel Discussion

Moderator: Jurisprudence scholar Art LeFrancois.


Vicki Behenna, Executive Director, Oklahoma Innocence Project at the Oklahoma City University School of Law

Kris Steele, Executive Director, TEEM (The Education and Employment Ministry), Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, 2011-2013

Christy Sheppard, Ada native and licensed family therapist.

• Christy's cousin was murdered in 1982 and the men convicted of her murder were eventually found innocent.

Michelle L. Estes, OSU Ph.D. graduate, specializing in criminology and social inequality, assistant professor, Department of Sociology and Political Science at Tennessee Tech University

Oklahoma State Representative Mauree Turner - Rep. Turner's platform includes criminal justice reform.

Session 4, Thursday, Aug. 19, 6 p.m.- Book study wrap-up and presentation: Pain, Healing and Recovery Through Art

April Golliver-Mohiuddin and Dr. Shelia Kennison, OSU Professor of Psychology and Associate Editor, Current Psychology.

Session 5, Thursday, Aug. 26, 6 p.m. Live Q&A

with Sister Helen Prejean and April Golliver-Mohiuddin

Covering Sister Helen's life's work and advocacy for the abolishment of the death penalty, wrongful conviction, unjust prison sentencing and her ministry of death row inmates. Discussion will also include her books, River of Fire, Dead Man Walking and The Death of Innocents.

Session 6, Saturday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. – Live Performance

“Music & Humanity" music by Jack Heggie and words by Sister Helen Prejean.

OSU Greenwood School of Music mezzo-soprano April Golliver-Mohiuddin, collaborative pianist Megan Barth Argo, assisted by Erin Murphy (flute) and Emma Draves (contemporary dance).

McKnight Center for the Performing Arts. Open to the public and free admission.

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