Shapiro/Rouse lecture welcomes Sheela Murthy


Stevenson University’s Communication Department will hold its annual Shapiro/Rouse lecture virtually on Wednesday, March 24, at 6 p.m. This year’s speaker is lawyer, entrepreneur, philanthropist and Stevenson Board of Trustees member, Sheela Murthy, and the event will be moderated by communication professor Dr. Heather Harris.

Sheela Murthy is an immigration lawyer at Murthy Law Firm based in Owings Mills, MD. A Harvard Law School graduate, Murthy serves as the president and founder of one of the world’s leading U.S. immigration law firms. Throughout her career, Murthy has helped countless individuals fight legal battles and overcome injustice, enabling them to live freely in the land of opportunity.

In a recently published biography titled “Being Sheela: The Life Journey of an Immigration Lawyer,” author Adithi Rao recounted some of the challenging cases Murthy and her team took on amidst a hostile environment surrounding immigration law.

Amanda Hostalka, Dean of Stevenson University’s School of Design, has been fortunate enough to cross paths with Murthy at events over the years. Hostalka can “attest that she is an extraordinary speaker and a wonderful storyteller.” She believes that Murthy is a role model and hopes that students can “use their communication skills and their own voices to advocate for others and to lift up everyone around them.”

This year’s lecture will be the 13th of the series. After Covid-19 prevented last year’s lecture from occurring, Hostalka did not want another year to go by without it. “This lecture enjoys a rich legacy of wonderful speakers and dynamic conversations,” Hostalka explained. “It is important to carry on the legacy of the series and to continue to recognize the important contributions of former Department Chair and Associate Professor of Business Communication, Chip Rouse.”

The Shapiro/Rouse lecture began in 2008 as a fund established by Mr. and Mrs. Ron Shapiro to honor Chip Rouse, who taught and positively impacted the life of their son, a communication graduate of SU. Rouse currently serves as an academic athletics coach and has been working at SU for 36 years. The goal of the lecture series is to provide additional education and exposure to successful professionals for students at the university.

Ron Shapiro gave the inaugural lecture in 2008 and continues to be involved in the series. Past lecturers have included Hunter McIntyre, director of operations at S.A.F.E. Management, Jayne Miller, lead investigative reporter with WBAL-TV and Steve Battista, senior VP of brand/creative at Under Armour.

Students across all majors and disciplines are encouraged to attend. As Murthy is a living example of service and advocacy in her day-to-day life and career, anyone can benefit from knowledge and engage in a meaningful and relevant conversation concerning equality.

The lecture on Wednesday, March 24, is open to the public and can be accessed for viewing via Bluejeans. The Meeting ID is 798304969.