By Sara Katherine Johnson
Four Baylor professors will get the chance to give their last lectures ever this weekend- at least, the lectures they would want to give if they knew it would be their last.
Dr. David Corey, associate professor of political science; Dr. Mitchell Neubert, professor of management; David White, senior lecturer in classics; and Scott Moore, associate professor of philosophy, have each prepared a 30-minute speech that represents what they would say to students if they knew they would never have the chance again.
The lecture series was inspired by a book titled “The Last Lecture,” written by Randy Pausch, a former professor at Carnegie Mellon University who gave a 2007 speech titled “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Pausch’s speech went viral and was the basis for his book published in 2008, the year he died.
As a part of Family Weekend, the Baylor Chamber of Commerce has given professors the opportunity to perform lectures similar to Pausch’s since 2012.
Corey said he wanted to go for a provocative title. In his speech “Liberal Education: Are You Worthy?” he will define liberal education and ask students whether they can find the freedom to pursue it.
“It presupposes a lot of courage and there are things you have to not let scare you,” Corey said. “For example, our fear of not getting a job after college scares us like a bugbear and tells us we shouldn’t give ourselves the freedom to study Latin and British literature.”
Corey earned a bachelor’s in music and classical languages and literature from Oberlin College and Conservatory. From there he went on to earn a law degree from the University of Edinburgh Law School, which he said he did not utilize later in life. He then went on to a job as a stock broker, which he said bored him. After working, he went to graduate school at Louisiana State University for his doctoral degree in political philosophy.
“I’m a walking testimony to the fact that it doesn’t matter what you study. You’ll do OK,” Corey said.
Neubert said his speech, titled “Are You Called to Lead?” is about the roles everyone has to play in life, a subject he is passionate about.
“I’m going to talk about a certain type of leadership- servant leadership,” Neubert said. “I think if they understand that concept better it will be an encouragement to many folks to lead in ways that they want to lead and maybe sometimes that they felt concerned didn’t fit.”
White said he felt a 30-minute lecture on one topic seemed imposing due to the nature of what he teaches in the classics department. To make it more manageable, he decided to approach it as three 10-minute talks instead, about choosing heroes, learning from failure and teaching as it applies to everyone.
White’s lecture is titled “Forsan et haec olimmeminisse iuvabit: On Heroism, Failure and Other Reflections.”
“Sometimes the most significant events in life are the most unexpected ones,” White said.
The fourth lecturer, Moore, titled his reading “Happiness and the Good Life,” which will serve as an introduction to Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas.
“I love this material and I love these authors,” Moore said. “I love how productive this approach is to thinking about a whole host of issues. Acquiring the virtues is what’s really needed to be happy.”
A complete list of the lectures and times for each one can be found on the Family Weekend event planner at baylor.edu/familyweekend.