Navajo Code Talkers Expert to Speak at SUU

Published: March 06, 2024 | Author: Clare-Estelle Perkins | Read Time: 2 minutes

Zonnie M GormanSouthern Utah University is proud to announce Zonnie M. Gorman, recognized historian of the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II, as this year’s Howard R. Driggs Memorial Lecture, part of the Founders Celebration and SUU’s Eccles A.P.E.X. Events series. This lecture will take place on Tuesday, March 12 at 11:30 a.m. in the Gilbert Great Hall within SUU’s Hunter Alumni Center. The event is free and open to the public, and due to licensing will not be streamed publicly.

Gorman’s lecture, “Growing Up With Heroes: A Daughter's Journey with the Navajo Code Talkers,” will explore the touching and riveting story of the original famous Navajo Code Talkers. This very first group – the “First Twenty-nine” – was the pilot project in 1942 that created the first Navajo code. As a historian and the daughter of the oldest member, Carl Gorman, Zonnie expertly weaves her personal connection and intimate knowledge with thirty years of archival research and collected first-hand account stories.

"We're excited to welcome Zonnie to SUU for Founders Week and as the presenter of the Driggs Memorial Lecture,” said Ron Cardon, alumni relations director. “Howard R. Driggs was one of the first four faculty members at SUU and was a well-known and respected historian. This lecture is named in Dr. Driggs' honor and focuses on American history. Zonnie’s expertise and research on the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II is a perfect addition to the lecture series and we are honored to have her here."

Gorman is an expert in her field and a dedicated teacher. She has served as a consultant to numerous documentaries, museum exhibitions and authors. Gorman is currently the Project Coordinator for the Circle of Light Navajo Educational Project (CLNEP), a nonprofit organization founded in May 2001 and located in Gallup, New Mexico. CLNEP offers a variety of Navajo role models to youth and fosters cultural pride and self-worth while educating them along with non-Navajos about the rich history, culture, language and contributions of the Navajo people.

The annual Howard R. Driggs Memorial Lecture began in 2009 and has featured lectures on a variety of people and topics such as World War I, Preserving History and African American History.

The Driggs Lecture is also a fundamental part of Eccles A.P.E.X., SUU’s premier weekly lecture series with speakers and presenters invited from all areas of the world.

A complete listing of events surrounding SUU’s Founders Celebration is available on the Founders Week website.

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Nikki Koontz