Last night Tim and I went to Rackham to hear John U. Bacon give his ideal last lecture as the winner of the 2009 Golden Apple award. Tim took his clas on the history of college athletics and I have had friends who have taken his class on the rise and fall of the American sportwriter, and the response has been almost universally and ridiculously positive.
Unfortunately, I never had the chance to take one of his classes, which is the plight of many students since there is usually a waiting like two or three times the class’ capacity. After hearing him speak, I definitely recommend trying your hardest to get into either of his classes.
His ideal last lecture was titled “What I’ve Learned – Despite My Best Efforts” and had a great mix of unflappable confidence and honest self-deprication. The full speech will be up on YouTube in the next few days (we’ll try to let you know and drop you a link), and I really recommend watching it. He walked us through his personal history will bringing in professional successes and failures as well as plenty of anecdotes about Bo Schembechler.
At the end of his speech he moved from narrative to argument showing his faith in the individuals and his confidence in the current generation to take on the problems of the day. He had four themes (of which I can regretably only remember the last three), lose your fears, drop your hatreds and connect with people for the sake of connecting. By the end of his speech, all of his anecdotes, interesting enough on their, fit nicely to show how his life has defined these themes.
We’ll make sure to have a link to the speech when it goes up on YouTube, for now, here’s a What Not to Wear style surprise ambush on John U. by S.H.O.U.T. (the student org. behind the golden apple) to let him know he won: