posted November 7, 2011

Last Lecture Series to Feature John Shaughnessy

Dr. John Shaughnessy, professor of psychology at Hope College, will present the address "What Do We Recognize?" on Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. in the MaasCenter auditorium. 
 
The public is invited.  Admission is free. 
 
Shaughnessy will be speaking through the "Last Lecture Series" organized by the college's Alcor chapter of the national Mortar Board honorary society to feature members of the faculty.  The chapter will give away copies of the book "Tuesdays with Morrie" to the first 100 in attendance, as well as copies of the "Last Lecture" to audience members following the address. 
 
The title of the lecture series, which the chapter initiated during the 2008-09 school year, is rhetorical.  The lectures are not literally presented as the last that the speakers will deliver at Hope, but are meant to highlight the advice that they would most want to share if the event was indeed the final opportunity for them to address the college's students.  The professors are being asked to reflect on their careers and lives, and to think deeply about what matters to them and about what wisdom they would like to impart. 
 
The concept was inspired by the "Last Lecture" delivered at CarnegieMellonUniversity by Dr. Randy Pausch on Sept. 18, 2007.  Pausch, a member of the Carnegie Mellon faculty who had terminal pancreatic cancer -- a fact known at the time that he spoke -- presented "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams."  He died on July 25, 2008, at age 47. 
 
Shaughnessy has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1975.  He teaches research methods, practical aspects of memory, Senior Seminar, and advanced research lab. His favorite professional activity is collaborating with students on research examining how to improve people's memory for names. 
 
A Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science, he is co-author of three research-methods books: "Research Methods in Psychology," which is in its ninth edition; "Essentials of Research Methods in Psychology"; and "Experimentation in Psychology."  His publications also include multiple articles in scholarly journals, and he has presented his research at the national meetings of a variety of professional associations. 
 
He served as chair of the college's department of psychology from the spring of 1997 through the spring of 2000. In April of 1992, Hope's graduating seniors selected him as the college's "Hope Outstanding Professor Educator," and in 2008 he received the "Janet L. Andersen Excellence in Teaching Award." He delivered the college's Opening Convocation address in the fall of 1992 and Hope's Commencement address in May of 1996, and was a presenter during the college's annual Winter Happening - discussing "Just How Bad Are Our Memories?" - in January 2003. 
 
Shaughnessy graduated from Loyola University of Chicago in 1969 with a Bachelor of Science degree.  He completed his doctorate at NorthwesternUniversity in 1972. 
 
Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service, and provides opportunities for continued leadership development, promotes service to college and universities, and encourages lifelong contributions to the global community.  Since its founding in 1918, the organization has grown from the four founding chapters to 229 collegiate chapters with nearly 250,000 initiated members across the nation. 
 
The Alcor chapter has existed at Hope since the 1936-37 academic year, although it did not become part of the national Mortar Board organization until 1961.  The chapter has received multiple awards at the Mortar Board National Conference during each of the past several years, including being named the top chapter during the national conference in July 2010.  During the conference this year, the chapter received a "Golden Torch Award," 12 "Project Excellence" awards, and the second annual "First Book Award" for having been the top chapter in the national "Reading is Leading" Virtual Book Drive Challenge. 
 
The chapter also sponsored a "last chance talk" during the 1960s.  The idea back then was to invite a faculty member to express his/her ideas under the hypothetical assumption that this would be the last opportunity to address the student body.  The late Dr. D. Ivan Dykstra, professor of philosophy, delivered the first "last chance talk" in the spring of 1962. 
 
Also during the Nov. 17 event, Mortar Board will be selling items through two fund-raising projects, offering hand-carved walking sticks for $9 and hand-carved marshmallow throwers with marshmallows for $6.  There will also be a free-will donation box to help support the costs of the Last Lecture Series and other Mortar Board service projects.  In addition, free copies of Last Lecture addresses delivered during 2010-11 will be available. 
 
The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street.