Tarleton’s Dr. Rudy Tarpley delivers 2017 ‘Last Lecture’ talk Oct. 10

The Last Lecture Series at Tarleton

The Last Lecture Series at Tarleton

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

STEPHENVILLE, Texas—Dr. Rudy Tarpley, professor of agricultural and consumer sciences, delivers the fourth talk in Tarleton State University’s Last Lecture Series at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 10, on the Stephenville campus.

The free, public event takes place in the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center Auditorium. Doors open at 6 p.m. with live music by Deslys Jergens and Mike Echols. A reception with light refreshments follows Tarpley’s talk, “Making a Positive Difference.”

The lecture is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council at 204 River North Blvd. and on campus at the:
• Joe W. Autry Agriculture Building, Room 101;
• Center for Instructional Innovation, located in the back of the Dick Smith Library;
• Center for Transformative Learning, Room 212 of the Administrative Building; and
• Student Government Association Office, Room 32 of the Barry B. Thompson Student Center.

The Last Lecture Series invites professors to share what they would say if it were their last opportunity to address colleagues and students. The tradition began in 1955 when six distinguished UCLA professors shared their life philosophy through the lens of discipline, interests and personal experiences.

Since then, the series has become a tradition at many universities, gaining popularity in 2007 when Dr. Randy Pausch delivered a talk, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” at Carnegie Mellon University. Pausch’s lecture—and subsequent book, The Last Lecture—became famous as he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with only months to live.

At Tarleton, the Last Lecture Award is the only faculty honor bestowed entirely by students. Students are invited to nominate a professor who has inspired and influenced their academic pursuits and outlook on life.

A former high school ag teacher, Tarpley has spent his life preparing others for a career in secondary agricultural education. It’s a passion that stems from his childhood on a ranch in eastern New Mexico where he was active in FFA and 4-H as well as basketball and track.

Tarpley joined Tarleton in 2010 following stints at Texas Tech University, Eastern New Mexico University and Utah State University.

He is recipient of numerous honors, including Texas Tech Teacher of the Year; ENMU Student Organization Adviser of the Year; and USU Teacher of the Year and Undergraduate Adviser of the Year.

In 2007, he was named Distinguished Teacher of the Year by the Western Region American Association for Agricultural Education, and he was honored for his outstanding leadership in 2014 by Tarleton’s agricultural education alumni. This year, the Texas FFA Association presented him with its E.R. Alexander Award for Meritorious Statewide Volunteer Leadership.

Tarpley earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agriculture and extension education from New Mexico State University and his Ph.D. in education from Mississippi State University.

Tarleton students selected Dr. James “Jim” Gentry for the 2016 Last Lecture Series talk and Dr. James “Jim” Kirby in 2015 after the university’s inaugural presentation by the late Dr. Christopher Guthrie, professor of history and A&M System Regents Professor.

Gentry is associate professor of curriculum and instruction, and Kirby a retired professor of mathematics.

For more information about the Last Lecture Series at Tarleton, visit www.tarleton.edu/facultyfellows/lastlecture.html.

Tarleton, celebrating 100 years as founding member of The Texas A&M University System, provides a student-focused, value-driven educational experience marked by academic innovation and exemplary service, and dedicated to transforming students into tomorrow’s professional leaders. As a member of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) with campuses in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian and online, Tarleton engages with its communities to provide real-world learning experiences and to address societal needs while maintaining its core values of tradition, integrity, civility, leadership, excellence and service.


Contact: Doug Hanna, Last Lecture Series Committee Chair
[email protected]

A founding member of The Texas A&M University System, Tarleton is breaking records — in enrollment, research, scholarship, athletics, philanthropy and engagement — while transforming the lives of more than 15,000 students in Stephenville, Fort Worth, Waco, Midlothian, A&M RELLIS at Bryan and online. True to Tarleton’s values of excellence, integrity, and respect, academic programs emphasize real world learning and address regional, state and national needs.