The Last Lecture: ‘No, Really. What Do You Believe?’

Story by Bailey Conklin, Sports Editor

Students and faculty will gather at 9 p.m. on Sept. 29 in Rice Auditorium to listen to Susan Emel when she speaks for the Last Lecture.

The Last Lecture, not new to campus but new to homecoming-week events this year, provides an informal format for speakers to share from their journey through life.

Last year, Baker’s Last Lecture was named program of the year at the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) Central Regional Conference.

Emel is a professor of communication studies and director of BU Speech Choir. To find inspiration for her lecture, she turned to those who nominated her, the students of Baker University.

“I talked to a lot of students and even alumni, and they all have interesting answers, not necessarily the same,” Emel said.

She mentioned that she had heard many professors give last lectures, but differing answers and many ideas made it difficult for her to pick a topic for her speech.

“It was hard in the beginning to focus, because there were so many ideas, but … I’ve enjoyed it,” Emel said.

The title of Emel’s lecture is ‘No, Really. What do you Believe?’ Her focus is to make students “think about thinking.” Even for those not in attendance, she wanted to give the advice that thinking is hard work, but she couldn’t imagine a better reason to do it other than to form beliefs.

“Beliefs are something we commit to because we decide there’s truth, and they have a huge impact on the way we communicate,” Emel said.

Those who plan to attend can also look forward to the BU Speech Choir director adding her own twist to the Last Lecture. She has planned for the Speech Choir to participate and she is even using technology as part of the presentation.