User:Crtew/USI professor delivers 'Last Lecture'

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Dr Amie McKibban, psychology professor
Image: University of Southern Indiana.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Evansville, Indiana — An assistant professor of psychology at the University of Southern Indiana , delivered her “last lecture” Wednesday night, a series that aims to address the important lessons learned in life. The Last Lecture Series gives a special group of professors the opportunity to give the lecture they would give if it was the last thing they ever taught. Amie McKibban is the first professor to give a last lecture at USI.

Carnegie Mellon University Professor Randy Pausch delivered “The Last Lecture: Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” after he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in September 2006. His lecture and subsequent book, also called “The Last Lecture” established a model for speeches that is now becoming a tradition at other universities.

USI’s student development program asked McKibban to answer this question: “If this was your last time to address a group of students, what would you say?” In response, McKibban told three “stories”, which she called "Singular actions cannot change the world: On becoming an activist," "Nothing goes as planned: On becoming a professor" and "Things are never as they seem: On being a woman."

McKibban, an LGBT activist, discussed how she became involved in the gay rights movement. McKibban's younger sister came out as a lesbian when McKibban was a sophomore in college. McKibban said she “cried tears of fear” for her sister because she "knew what society was like” and she was afraid of the challenges her sister would face. “The words and labels we use can have consequences beyond our wildest imagination,” McKibban said.

McKibban said she consciously decided to become an ally, but only later evolved into an activist because of people she met in college who inspired her to do more. "I’ve learned that being an ally is a process. And that silence is always interpreted as acceptance." While at USI, McKibban co-founded the Safe Zone program, an initiative that hosts three-hour learning sessions about sexual identity and orientation, as well holding a number of educational activities in Evansville and the surrounding area.

McKibban summed up what she had learned about activism, "Singular actions will not change the world, but I can promise you that they will change someone’s life."

In her next story, McKibban dicussed her long journey on becoming a professor. She explained how she was never considered the "smart" sibling in the family, and allowed this mindset to hold her back. She barely passed high school, and changed her major in college from general studies to social work to secondary education, before finally settling on becoming a college professor. With every new turn in life, McKibban reminded the audience "life never goes according to plan."

During her last lecture, McKibban also discussed her recent struggle with uterine fibers, large tumors that were eventually removed during major surgery in December.


Sources[edit]

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Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.