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Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture offers graduating students an opportunity to come together and reflect upon their experiences at the University of Guelph, bring closure to the time that they have spent here, and celebrate their many accomplishments both insides and outside of the classroom. This annual event features an address by a graduating student, a distinguished alumni, and a faculty member.

Watch the recording of The Last Lecture 2024

Meet your 2024 Last Lecturers!

Student Last Lecturer Manahil Zaid

Student Last Lecturer Manahil Zaid

Hi everyone, I am thrilled to have been selected as the student lecturer at The Last Lecture event for the Class of 2024. I am a fourth year graduating student in Applied Human Nutrition and aspiring to be a future Dietitian. Currently, I work for Hospitality Services as the Student Nutrition Awareness Program Coordinator where I lead a team of 16 volunteers to plan, promote and execute nutrition related programming across campus and on social media. I am very passionate about everything food and nutrition related and am actively involved within this community at U of G through my volunteer work with clubs and organizations such as the Campus Food Market or MealCare. Additionally, I have been involved with other campus departments such as Residence Life, where I held the position of Residence Assistance and provided 1-on-1 support to a community of residence students for approximately two years. While I am honoured to be achieving the significant accomplishment that is graduating university, the feelings associated with leaving university are bittersweet. The Last Lecture is a great opportunity for graduating students to come together and reflect on our recent years at university as we plan to embark on our future journeys. I am looking forward to speaking at this event to facilitate a reflection upon on past experiences and current feelings as we look back at our time at U of G.

Don Mercer

Faculty Last Lecturer Don Mercer

Dr Don Mercer, P.Eng. is an Associate Professor with the Department of Food Science, University of Guelph and is a Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology. His research interests are in food process engineering, with specific emphasis on dehydration and drying.  He is looking forward to retirement at the end of April 2024. 

From 2003 to 2020, Don co-chaired the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) Distance Education Task Force in developing and delivering training modules for food industry workers in Sub-Saharan Africa.  In addition, he has participated in the ‘‘Education for Employment Program’’ sponsored by the Canadian Government to develop food-based training programs in Tanzania, Dominica, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  From 2014 to 2018, Don worked with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and IUFoST to present food processing workshops for entrepreneurs and small-scale farmers in the Caribbean, South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa. He is currently working on additional projects to promote the availability of instructional material for small-scale processors and entrepreneurs.   

Prior to joining the University of Guelph, Don spent ten years with the Research Branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and fourteen years as Senior Research Engineer with Kraft-General Foods Canada. 

Gabriella Sundar Singh

Alumni Last Lecturer Gabriella Sundar Singh

Gabriella Sundar Singh is an actor, singer and dancer, born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Her time at the University of Guelph was where her love for theatre truly bloomed. After completing her studies at U of G, she pursued post-graduate studies at Centennial College in Children’s Entertainment, studied Acting at the National Theatre School of Canada and recently completed her M.A. in Drama at the University of Toronto. She is currently performing in her sixth season at the Shaw Festival, in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Gabriella’s work has taken her from stage to screen, but her most enjoyable work comes in the form of teaching. She has spent many years teaching dance and drama, and enjoys coaching and mentoring young artists to help them reach their creative goals. Being back on the UofG campus is an incredible gift and a privilege - she is thankful to the Alumni Affairs and Student Experience teams at the University for including her in this special event.