The Last Lecture: Truly the Last for Some

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Written by Janet Errygers

The school year is wrapping up, and among many other things, fourth year students are planning their graduation and the beginning of what may be their future career. Everyone I speak with is having similar issues: two exams on one day, nowhere to sit in the library, or roommate troubles back at home. Regardless, in two short weeks it will all be over, leaving us wondering how the year slipped by so quickly once again.

For the past eleven years, “The Last Lecture” is held in War Memorial Hall. This year, the theme of this event was Steve Jobs inspired: “Have the courage to follow your own heart”. Three speakers were chosen from a pool of nominees to speak to the graduating class and to offer their words of wisdom. These speakers included a student lecturer graduating this year, Alexandra Mayhew; a faculty lecturer from the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, Dr. Robin Milhausen; and an alumna from the Bachelor of Sciences program, Katharine Schmidt.

Alexandra embodied this year's theme by sharing the knowledge she has learned through the many volunteer positions she has held throughout her years at the University of Guelph. She has been a campus tour guide since 2009, a volunteer note taker, and an orientation volunteer. A soon-to-be graduate of the Bachelor of Sciences program, Alexandra does not yet have plans for the fall but says that she intends to follow her heart.

Dr. Milhausen has a plethora of degrees and accolades on her belt, and she attributes her success to loving not only her job, but her entire life. She attained both her bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Guelph, then received her PhD at Indiana State University. At Indiana State, her dissertation studied factors that inhibit or enhance sexual arousal in women and men. Her lecture was entertaining and stressed the importance of following a path that you love.

The final lecturer, Katharine Schmidt, graduated from the Univeristy of Guelph in 1987. Now, she holds the position of Executive Director of Food Banks Canada. Her work has allowed the organization to truly become the “voice for hungry Canadians” as investment into food banks has increased by six times, and the amount of food donated annually has doubled. Schmidt loves her job, and followed her heart in order to get where she is today.

Following the three lecturers, who were enthusiastically received by the audience, a reception was held in the basement of War Memorial. This reception was sponsored by Student Life.

With exams starting this week, the staff at The Cannon wish everyone good luck on their exams, and hope that a safe and happy summer lies ahead!

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