On March 28, Convocation Hall hosted the Last Lecture, a sentimental event geared toward upcoming grads. Part awards night, part inspirational address, the event is hosted by the grad committee. They invite a current professor, chosen based on student votes, to speak to the graduating class.
Mario Levesque, assistant professor of political science and international relations, gave this year’s address. Before the event started, I looked around the room and noticed the auditorium was only one-quarter full.
The night began on a solemn but important note, when grad class committee president Brooke Cheeks asked the room to observe a moment of silence for the recent passing of Mount Allison student Theo Stylianides.
Indigenous Affairs Coordinator Lorise Simon gave a land acknowledgement and a brief talk about the importance of decolonizing the University and advancing the process of reconciliation.
Levesque’s lecture, titled “Life Happens,” was a nod to how life can change after graduation and emphasized the importance of working hard, persevering and trying new things. Levesque talked about “the elephant in the room”: What happens when we graduate from Mt. A? He compared his journey in life, including his several different careers and time spent all over central and Atlantic Canada, to the upcoming transition for graduates.
I asked graduating students how they found the event and received a variety of responses.
Emilie Yammine, a fourth-year chemistry student, said she would suggest trying to make the Last Lecture a more inclusive event, perhaps by inviting professors from different disciplines to talk, “to make it more relatable for all students.”
Garrett Muir, a fourth-year chemistry student, said the importance of the event lay in recognizing the hard work of different Mt. A students and that he “loved being able to recognize [his] peers, as we have so many excellent talents and abilities at Mt. A.”
Muir also said that he wishes the event had been less formal. “The sense of formality almost detracted from the overall atmosphere,” he said.
Meghan McCracken, a member of the grad class committee, said she thought the event was a lot of fun. “[Levesque] had a lot of really great things to say,” she said. “I was feeling really inspired in the audience, and I think it was really great to have our grad class get together one last time and celebrate our academic life at Mt. A.”
Overall, the Last Lecture was a nice study break – a chance for students to appreciate their peers and an opportunity for them to listen to a professor ease collective anxiety about life after graduation.