Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 29, 2007

Last Lecture for Graduating Students

John Steffler, parliamentary poet laureate and award-winning poet and fiction writer, will be among the speakers at the sixth annual “Last Lecture” for graduating students April 4 at the University of Guelph.

The event gives members of the class of 2007 the opportunity to come together to reflect
on their experiences and achievements during their time at the University. This year’s theme is taken from the Shakespearean quote: “This above all: to thine own self be true.” The event begins at 5:30 p.m. in Room 104 of Rozanski Hall with president Alastair Summerlee sharing some words of inspiration. Graduating student Kira Kumagai and the university's associate vice-president academic Alan Shepard will also give talks. A reception will follow.

“The Last Lecture is a unique opportunity for graduating students to look back on how their entire experience at Guelph both inside and outside the classroom has shaped them to be the citizens they are now,” said Jennifer Maddock, leadership education and development adviser in Student Life. “We want students to leave inspired by the words of our speakers and to move forward in their lives with a sense of promise for the future.”

Steffler earned an MA in English from the University of Guelph in 1974 and went on to publish five award-winning books of poetry. His novel The Afterlife of George Cartwright was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award and the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book. Named Canada’s poet laureate in December, he will spend the next two years encouraging and promoting the importance of literature, culture and language. Steffler is the third poet to hold the post since its inception four years ago.

Kumagai, who will graduate in June with a Bachelor of Arts and Science, has been selected as the student lecturer. During her years on campus, she has been involved in a number of projects, including implementing a service-learning program on AIDS in India in which students spend a month volunteering in the country. She was helped out with Project Serve, an annual one-day volunteer event, and planned an international project that had students spending Reading Week helping with hurricane Katrina relief. She is also a recognized student leader and a member of several campus committees, including the University Centre Board, the Peace Week Committee and the Student Volunteer Connections Conference.

This will be one of the last talks at the university for Alan Shepard, who is leaving this summer to begin his new role as provost and vice-president academic at Ryerson University.

For more information, contact Jennifer Maddock at 519-824-4120, Ext. 54362, or

For media questions, call Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982.

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