Last Lecture Series

“If this were your last time to address a group of students, what would you say to them?”

Our lecture series is inspired by a talk Professor Randy Pausch delivered at Carnegie Mellon while he was battling terminal pancreatic cancer. His talk entitled “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” included stories of his childhood, lessons that he had learned, and advice on how to live life to the fullest. His lecture has been viewed by millions on YouTube and the published version became a New York Times best seller.

Modeled after Randy Pausch’s last lecture, our lecture series invites University of Memphis faculty to reflect deeply about what matters to them and to share those reflections with the broader community. The Last Lecture Series is an opportunity for students to learn more about their instructors’ interests and their thoughts on important topics.

Honors students who attend a Last Lecture will be entered into a drawing for a $700 scholarship!

Fall 2019 Schedule

September 11, 2019

Speaker: Cody T. Havard, Ph.D.
Lecture Topic: "The Power of Not Knowing (from someone who likes to think he knows a lot)"
Reception: 4:30 PM in University Center Atrium
Lecture: 5:00 PM in University Center Theatre


About the Speaker: Dr. Havard is an Associate Professor of Sport Commerce in the UofM’s Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management. His primary line of research addresses rivalry and its impact on group member behavior. For his research efforts, Dr. Havard was named the 2015 Emerging Scholar in Sports Marketing by the SportSIG of the American Marketing Association. Dr. Havard teaches two Honors Forum classes; one on Rivalry and Group Behavior, and one on Being a Fan of Disney.


October 23, 2019

Speaker: Greg Boller, Ph.D.
Lecture Topic: “Continuing to Live in the Poetics of Imagination”
Reception: 4:30 PM in University Center Atrium
Lecture: 5:00 PM in University Center Theatre


About the Speaker: Dr. Boller is an Associate Professor of Marketing and Interim Chairman of the UofM’s Department of Marketing and Supply Chain Management. Dr. Boller’s current research interests center on empathy and the neuroscience of acting. Dr. Boller has served as an advertising consultant to the US Navy as well as political research consultant to ABC News, the Foundation for National Progress, and the National Institute on Media and the Family.

November 5, 2019

Speaker: Beverly Bond, Ph.D.
Lecture Topic: "'Change Is Gonna Come!': Living a Twentieth/Twenty-first Century Life"

Reception: 4:30 PM in the University Center River Room
Lecture: 5:00 PM in the University Center River Room


About the Speaker: Dr. Bond is Professor of African American History in the UofM's Department of History. She has researched and written on the ways in which 19th-century African American women negotiated intersections of enslavement, freedom, class, and gender in the urban South, on Memphis History, and on the history of the University of Memphis.  She has served on local and state historical committees and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Memphis Museums, Inc., Tennessee Historical Records Advisory Board and the Board of Advisors of the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.  She has also served on and chaired the board of directors of Humanities Tennessee and as president of the Southern Association for Women Historians.

Nominate a Professor to Give a Last Lecture

Do you know a professor who you think would give a powerful and inspiring Last Lecture? A committee of students, faculty, and staff will select the featured lecturer from the group of nominated faculty. The winner will receive a cash award from the Honors College and have the opportunity to present his/her lecture. This is a great opportunity for students to share the talents of their favorite professor with the UofM community.  Nominations are welcomed from all students, faculty, and staff members.

Submit Nomination >

2019-20 Honors Last Lecture Series Committee

Jeffrey Berman (Psychology)
Michael Harris (University Libraries)
Cody Havard (Sports and Leisure Commerce)
Jonathan Holland (Helen Hardin Honors College)
Robert Marcynski (College of Arts & Sciences)
Jennifer Murchison (Disability Resources for Students)
Ashley Roach (University Libraries)