Psychology professor Alan Fridlund, best known by students for his popular Introduction to Psychology course, will consider the approach of his death and give his ‘last lecture’ at 8 p.m. in Embarcadero Hall.
Carnegie Mellon University professor Randy Pausch’s discussion about his death and what he valued most in life — delivered after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer — inspired the Associated Students Academic Affairs Board’s Last Lecture Series inaugural event. Fridlund’s speech builds on his life experiences to help participants find meaning in their lives.
According to Fridlund, the opportunity fostered personal introspection to help students make discoveries about themselves.
“I wrote the talk for my son as well as the students at UCSB,” Fridlund said. “The talk made me contemplate my life in the context of my upcoming death, and it made me think about what I might share to guide the students, to ease their pains and to help them make a better world than our generation has given them.”
Fridlund, who was nominated by students to host the series’ first event, said the lecture yields an unconventional and pragmatic discussion.
“The students could have had a Nobel laureate [speak], but [the opportunity] was an honor I could never refuse,” Fridlund said. “Last lecture forces people to consider issues of their own legacies and what their lives mean, and students want to know how their own professors have constructed the meaning of their lives.”
Third-year psychology major Jennie Kim said the event will allow students to elicit personal growth in unexpected ways.
“I took two classes with Fridlund, so my expectations are really high,” Kim said. “More importantly, in college, our priorities are often mixed up and we lack direction so this lecture can shed light on what is really important.”
Alexander Philips, a third-year microbiology major, said the series gives Fridlund a chance to relay his knowledge outside a course syllabi’s confines.
“I’m attending because Professor Fridlund’s charisma and enthusiasm will make for an interesting event,” Philip said. “What appeals to me about the Last Lecture series is that it allows Fridlund to delve into his personal experience and communicate insights, wisdoms and whatever else he finds worthy of a last lecture.”
Tonight’s event is free of charge and doors open at 7 p.m. The A.S. Academic Affairs Board is currently accepting nominations for Spring quarter’s lecture.