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The Last Lecture Series

Dr. Rudy Tarpley

The Last Lecture Series
"Making a Positive Difference"

October 10, 2017
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.  On September 15, 2015 Dr. Kirby presented his 'Last Lecture'.  The third recipient of Tarleton's Last Lecture Series was Dr. Jim Gentry from the College of Education on September 15, 2016.  Dr. Tarpley will be the forth in the series.

Dr. Rudy Tarpley

Dr. Rudy Tarpley is a professor of agricultural education in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Sciences at Tarleton State University.  He earned degrees in Agricultural and Extension Education from New Mexico State University and Mississippi State University and has served on faculty at Texas Tech University, Eastern New Mexico University, and Utah State University.  A former high school agriculture teacher, Dr. Tarpley has spent his life preparing preservice agriculture teachers for the teaching of agriculture, leadership, and career development. 

Rudy Tarpley grew up on a ranch in eastern New Mexico where he was active in FFA, 4-H, basketball, and track.  He and Crystal have been married for 31 years and have two sons.  Joshua and his wife Bethanne live in Lynchburg, Virginia and Matthew resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  The Tarpleys are active members at First Baptist Church Stephenville, Gideons International, and Kiwanis Club of Stephenville.

Dr. Tarpley has been recognized across the nation with a number of teaching and advising awards.

                E.R. Alexander Award for Meritorious Statewide Volunteer Leadership – Texas FFA Association (2017).

                Outstanding Leadership – Tarleton Agricultural Education Alumni (2014).

                Distinguished Teacher of the Year – Western Region American Association for Agricultural Education (2007).

Teacher of the Year – Utah State University College of Agriculture (2007).

                Undergraduate Advisor of the Year – Utah State University (2005).

                Student Organization Advisor of the Year – Eastern New Mexico University (1999).

                Teacher of the Year – Texas Tech University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (1995, 1996).

                Honorary Membership – National FFA Organization (2001), Utah FFA Association (2007), New Mexico FFA Association (1989).

Tickets available September 15, 2017 at the following locations:

Center for Instructional Innovation (front desk, north entrance across from Clyde Wells Fine Arts Auditorium)
Student Government Association (downstairs in the Thompson Student Center)
Cross Timbers Fine Arts (204 River North Blvd, Stephenville, TX)