by Heather Hamilton, Published February 18, 2009
YPSILANTI —Professors give countless lectures each semester to their students. But, imagine if they had to decide what to say if they had one last lecture to give.
Eastern Michigan University’s Campus Life presents its popular “Last Lecture Series,” an innovative series that allows students and the public to interact with top professors at EMU in a format that extends beyond the professors’ disciplines and into their unique ideological belief structure. The professors will reflect on what has made their life and their life’s work worthwhile, as if they were giving their last lecture.
Martin Shichtman, professor of English language and literature; Gary “Doc” Evans, professor of communication, media and theatre arts; and Mary Bigler, professor of teacher education, are scheduled to speak. The free lectures begin at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Auditorium, 900 Oakwood St., on EMU’s main campus. A light reception will follow.
Shichtman presents “History at the Edge of the Abyss: Not Dead Yet,” Monday, March 2. His presentation is a response to Henry Ford’s assertion that ‘history is more or less bunk. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present.’ In so many ways, he says, Ford’s words define what it means to be an American. Yet as a teacher, and a scholar, he finds himself constantly needing to explain what happened and why.
Evans presents, “A Life at the University,” Tuesday, March 17. His lecture will look at the role of a university in the life of a nation, and its impact on society and the individual. He believes that it is critical that a university teaches the tools and skills of learning, and also instills in students a sense of the value of an academic/intellectual orientation of life.
Bigler wraps up the series with her lecture Monday, March 30. As a professor, her focus is reading and students in her classes learn to teach others how to read. She will discuss three things she feels can help one in life: have great expectations; keep a positive attitude, and maintain a sense of humor.
Campus Life conducted a survey at the end of last year and had students suggest professors they would like to see lecture in this year’s series. The three professors chosen received the most nominations from a list of nearly 200 professors.