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The Last Lecture Series

Dr. Jim Kirby

The Last Lecture Series
September 15, 2015
6:30 p.m. (Doors open at 6:00 p.m)
Clyde Wells Auditorium
Reception following

The History of the Last Lecture

In 1955, UCLA featured six lectures from distinguished UCLA figures such as philosophy professor Abraham Kaplan, chemistry professor Kenneth Trueblood and legendary basketball coach John Wooden. Each lecturer shared their own life philosophy through the lens of their discipline, interests and personal experiences.

In the years since, the Last Lecture has become a tradition at many universities across the country. The tradition grew more popular in 2007 when Dr. Randy Pausch delivered a talk entitled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” at Carnegie Mellon University. Pausch’s lecture (and subsequent book, titled “The Last Lecture”) became famous as he’d been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had only months to live.


Tarleton’s Last Lecture Award

The Last Lecture Award will be the only faculty award at Tarleton selected entirely by the student body. Students will be invited to nominate an outstanding professor who has inspired and influenced them in their education and outlook. The student body will consider the nominations and select a professor to give a lecture that addresses the question: “If you had but one final opportunity to address your students and colleagues, what would you share with your audience?”

The inaugural installment of the Last Lecture series at Tarleton was delivered on October 21, 2014.  To begin the series, Dr. Chris Guthrie was asked by the Faculty Fellows to serve as the inaugural speaker.  After this initial lecture by Dr. Guthrie, student government developed a voting process for the fall 2015 speaker.  In April 2015 Dr. Jim Kirby was selected by the students to deliver Tarleton's 2nd Last Lecture.

Dr. Jim Kirby

Dr. James C. (Jim) Kirby joined the Tarleton faculty in 1983 as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics.  Since his arrival he has taught undergraduate courses including algebra, trigonometry, probability, statistics, calculus, non-continuous mathematics, and mathematical modeling and graduate courses including operations research and optimization.  Dr. Kirby received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1989 and received promotion to Professor in 1995.

During his more than three decades at Tarleton, Dr. Kirby has been published nine times in the College Mathematics Journal and has had contributions in one book, Mathematics Fallacies, Flaws, and Flimflam by Edward Barbeau.  He has presented twelve papers at professional meetings of the Mathematical Association of America.

Dr. Kirby has been the recipient of numerous honors, awards, and research grants during his tenure at Tarleton, including the Phi Eta Sigma Distinguished Teaching Award, the O.A. Grant Excellence in Teaching Award, and the Jack and Louse Arthur Excellence in Teaching Award.  He is also a Regents Professor of the Texas A&M University System. 

He was a sponsor of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society for eighteen years.  He served as assistant and then official sponsor of the local chapter, Vice President and then President of Region 1, which consists of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and the western 2/3 of Texas, and finally as a member of the National Council of Alpha Chi.  Under his sponsorship, the local chapter was chosen as the outstanding chapter in the nation, out of 315 chapters, in 1997.  Administratively, he served as interim department head of Mathematics, Physics, and Engineering in the 1990-1991 school year.

Dr. Kirby, a native Texan, received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Tarleton State University, and his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy from New Mexico State University.  He has been married to the former Anita Castleman for thirty years.  They have three children, Josh and wife Katie with granddaughter Adalynn, Chad, and Amanda and husband Justin. 

Tickets available at the following locations:

Fine Arts 105A
Center for Instructional Innovation
Student Government Association (bottom floor of the Thompson Student Center)
Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council
Bruner Autos Stephenville