Towson professor gives Last Lecture

Professor Kathleen Gould of Towson University delivered her first lecture of the The Last Lecture II series on Monday, March 23 in the PACA House multi-purpose room. An audience of students, faculty, and staff gathered to fill the room to listen to Gould’s advice and insight about how to discover happiness and success in life.

To help the audience think about life differently, the 53-year-old wife and mother of two emphasized two points; that we make our own happiness and it is about the journey, not the destination.

After being inspired by the video clip, the audience laughed as baby pictures of Gould appeared on the screen. Gould’s first point of advice was to know the you are special. She was the first child of parents that thought they would never have children after nine years of trying.

Gould continued with her next point, which was take pride. She teared up as she stressed the importance of no matter what we are doing, we should take pride. This emotional piece of advice touched the audience as they watched in awe.

“I felt a personal connection with [Gould] through her use of family photos,” Alyssa Bernabei, PACA resident and audience member, said. “I realized that just because you can’t have what you want, doesn’t mean you can’t be happy.”

During this lecture, Gould used past experiences, family photos, and childhood memories as she delivered each point. Gould used her grandmother’s struggle to adjust to life in America after coming from Italy with only a trunk and sewing machine and knowing barely any English. This example emphasized that we must accept challenges.

Gould continued  to say that we must nourish warm, loving relationships by making other feel good, finding your hearts desire through the process of making difficult decisions, achieving excellence, which Gould is a prime example of because she was the valedictorian of her high school class, and welcome the unexpected, which Gould used the example of how her and her husband met.

Life is a journey and a balancing act that changes directions on us. To enjoy life to the fullest, we must figure out what is important to us.

“When life gives you lemons, you need to do something with them,” Gould said.

When another company bought her husband’s company, her and her family faced the decision of moving to Arkansas so her husband could keep her current job or moving forward. That is how she ended up at Towson University teaching about nutrition, a subject she loves, to students, who she loves, as well.

Gould would have never delivered her lecture if the students did not nominate and vote for her. She loves her students and could not thank them enough for this opportunity.

“The Last Lecture II is a signature, annual event. We have 103 Resident Assistants that vote for the best faculty. The top three do the Last Lecture II. This is the second year,” Tasha Vanterpool, member of the Residence Engagement Committee for Housing and Residence Life said.

When Professor Gould heard the news of her nomination, she said, “there was no way I could say no.” Her inspiration for her lecture came from her daughter, who is graduating from James Madison University this Spring. Her daughter asks many questions about the future as her graduation approaches.

“People are so focused on getting from point A to point B and miss the stuff in between,” Gould said. “They do not enjoy moment.”

Through this realization, Gould continued, “I thought about things I haven’t thought about in years, such as my grandparents, influences, and memories from the pictures.”

“Happiness is something we need to share,” Gould said.

A raffle drawing concluded the lecture, as three audience members won the bookThe Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch. This book, which inspired the Last Lecture II, with hopefully bring them happiness and inspiration, just as Professor Gould lecture inspired them.


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