advises students to discover their least common denominator
at the 34th annual last lecture
By Connor H. Jones
April 8, 2009 - Logan | Dr. Ann Berghout
Austin spoke to students, faculty and the public on
Monday afternoon in the 34th annual Last Lecture.
The last lecture series is a program
run by students and sponsored by USU's Honors Program.
At the beginning of each year the last lecture committee
receives nominations from students on what faculty member
should be considered to give the coveted last lecture,
after the finalists are decided honor students vote
deciding the lecturer.
The premise around the lecture is
right in the name, if the speaker had only one lesson
to give before death or retirement what would the message
Dr Austin, Professor of Family, Consumer,
and Human Development and Vice Provost for Faculty Development
and Diversity spoke on children calling them "my
least common denominator."
Austin, who is only the fourth women
to be selected as the last lecturer, spoke about the
importance of finding one's own "least common denominator"(LCD).
She gave two definitions of the LCD;
Definition one, the buddy definition where the LCD equals
the lowest common multiple of the denominator. Definition
two is what Austin explained at the reducing it down
definition where the LCD equals what your life distills
it down to. She explained it as the thing your life
always comes back to, your bottom line in life, or the
thing that makes you feel most like yourself.
Dr. Austin said that at the age of
17 she knew her bottom line was children and from that
point she decided to dedicate her life to helping kids.
During the lecture Austin encouraged
the people in the audience to know the importance of
a strong family and to understand that more important
than an adopted parent's sexual preferences is the love
the child will get.
Utah is one of six states that does
not allow same sex couples to adopt and one of only
three states that doesn't allow same sex couples to
be foster parents. Anderson said she found through years
of research and study that loving parents, whether hetero
or homosexual, to be the most important factor in a
As Anderson's lecture came to a close
she gave a few more pieces of advice, "Use your
undergrad years to pursue your passions with gusto,
and immerse yourself in service because it helps you
find what you truly love," Anderson said,"Have
no regrets, stay positive, keep moving, listen to compliments,
be persistent and willing to make changes. Just make
the best choices you can and go for it."