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Friday, August 17, 2018
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Louisiana Public Square
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Panelist Bio


Robyn Merrick
Guest Moderator, Louisiana Public Square and Southern University Vice President for External Affairs

Robyn Merrick is Southern University Vice President for External Affairs in Baton Rouge.

Robyn previously provided leadership for the University’s 90,000 alumni serving as Director of Alumni Affairs and Executive Director of the Southern University Alumni Federation. Also at Southern, Robyn co-hosted the University’s radio show, Inside the Southern University System, and is the former co-managing editor of the Southern University System Magazine. Through her career in higher education, she has held several administrative positions as Director of Public Affairs, and Policy Development Coordinator. Robyn holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Masters in Public Administration and will graduate with a Ph.D. in Public Policy in May. She has conducted and published research in the areas of women’s studies as it relates to women in government and is currently researching Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

In addition, Robyn has served as chair of the Board of Directors for Girl Scouts Louisiana-East, and is immediate past board chair of the Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting. She currently serves on the board of directors for the Volunteers in Public Schools and WRKF Public Radio.

Robyn is committed to public service and volunteerism with more than 35 years of experience working with religious, civic and nonprofit organizations.

Current Topic


     08/18 - The Power of Reading

How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?
The ability to read sets the foundation of who we are and what we can be. Through reading we expand our world, learn new things and increase our base of knowledge. In fact, a parent’s reading level is the greatest factor in a child’s academic success. Children who can’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

In Louisiana, 20 percent of adults are illiterate – five points higher than the national rate. How is Louisiana combatting its illiteracy problem across generational lines? How can we make inroads to improve adult literacy in Louisiana and champion a joy of reading from pre-school into adulthood?

Louisiana Public Square: The Power of Reading looks for answers and explores the value of lifelong reading through the lens of the PBS series The Great American Read Wednesday, August 22 at 7pm on LPB and in New Orleans on WLAE. (Recorded Tuesday, August 14 in the Magnolia Performing Arts Pavilion at Baton Rouge Community College.)

Our panelists are:
- Linda-Marie Barrett, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA)
- Rebecca Hamilton, MLIS; Louisiana State Librarian
- Danny Heitman; Journalist and Louisiana author
- Miranda Restovic, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities (LEH).
- Gary Robertson; Adult Literacy Advocates

The program features interviews with John Cavalier, owner of Cavalier House Books; Gary Robertson, Executive Director of Adult Literacy Advocates; representatives from the LEH PRIME TIME intergenerational reading program, and Superintendent John White with the Louisiana Department of Education.

LPB CEO Beth Courtney and Robyn Merrick, Southern University VP of External Affairs, host the show.

Louisiana Public Square can also be heard on public radio stations WRKF in Baton Rouge; Red River Radio in Shreveport and Monroe; and WWNO in New Orleans. Check their station websites for schedule.

This episode of Louisiana Public Square is underwritten by Community Coffee’s Cash for Schools Program, the Louisiana Forestry Association, LSU Press and the Southern Independent Booksellers’ Authors Round the South.

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Special Presentation


     05/16 - Louisiana Veterans Coming Home

What challenges do our returning veterans face?

Coming Soon!


     09/18 - Revisiting Reform

Are the criminal justice reforms working as intended?

Recent Topics


     07/18 - Preventing Suicide

How is Louisiana addressing its suicide problem?

     06/18 - Louisiana: Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?  (ENCORE)

Is Louisiana a Sportsman’s Paradise or Problem?

     05/18 - News About the News

How can viewers distinguish between fact and fake news and is social media blurring the difference?

     04/18 - Balancing Eldercare

How much does Louisiana spend on nursing homes versus home and community-based care?
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