Skip to Quicklinks
Skip to Quicklinks


Contact:
Scott Bigelow | 910.521.6351 | scott.bigelow@uncp.edu
University Communications and Marketing

| More

Friday, April 15, 2011

UNCP’s ‘Last Lecture’ got to the core of things

Dr. Joseph Lakatos debated whether he would use the word cancer in his Last Lecture on April 13 at UNC Pembroke.

Joseph LakatosApproximately 500 attended Dr. Lakatos’ 60-minute lecture in the Givens Performing Arts Center.

Dr. Lakatos was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma in 2004. He acknowledged the disease and the challenges it has brought him, describing in detail the horrendous regime of radiation and chemotherapy that saved his life, but left him shaken to the core.

Then, with that unpleasantness out of the way, he got to the point and the word.

“This is not about cancer,” Dr. Lakatos said. “This is about inspiring you.”

And he did inspire. His lecture, titled “Getting to the Core,” included elements of theatre, music, video and even costume changes as he stripped down to his core—from business suit to shorts, flip-flops and a Superman t-shirt.

“In your life time,” he said, “you will have challenges, things will come at you. One day you will stand up and say ‘this is what I’m passionate about.’”

Dr. Lakatos explained that finding his core took some time. His father wanted him to be successful financially, so he worked as an attorney and auditor for major corporations in Boston and New York.

“For 10 years, I did what he wanted me to and was successful,” Dr. Lakatos said. “It ate at me; I had this anger built up in me.”

Several adjunct teaching jobs helped him find his core. “I may not be the best teacher, but it’s something I wanted to do and something I want to get better at,” he said.

Joseph LakatosDoes he regret the time lost? “At the end of the day, it worked. I am a non-traditional academic. If I had studied to be a teacher first, would I have been the same teacher?” he asked. “At the end of the day, “C” equals “P.” Your core has to equal your passion.”

Dr. Lakatos’ passion has been inspiring colleagues and students at UNCP since his arrival. Besides winning a student poll to deliver UNCP’s first Last Lecture, he was named the 2011 recipient of UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence, the state’s top teaching award.

Ever the teacher, Dr. Lakatos asked difficult questions of his audience: “How do we keep our core intact when we are attacked?” “Why does it take a tragedy to examine our core?” and “What will it take for you?”

Many of Dr. Lakatos’ past and current students were in the audience. For most of them, the event was the first time they had ever seen him in person. Via interactive video, he is teaching three classes during the spring semester in business law. Victoria Bullard met Dr. Lakatos in person for the first time at the Last Lecture.

“He’s an excellent teacher,” Bullard said. “You never have a dull moment - even on video.”

Former student and UNCP employee Susan Evans was in his class during a death in the family. “Dr. Lakatos was so good to me when my brother was dying,” she said. “I am so glad he won the teaching award.”

The lecture took place during a flurry of activities during the week of Dr. Kyle R. Carter’s installation as the University’s fifth chancellor. In introducing the speaker, Chancellor Carter explained the reason he called for a Last Lecture. “The Last Lecture recognizes both our students, who selected the speaker today, and our faculty,” he said. “The last lecture is an idea that’s been around a long time and was made popular by the late Randy Pausch in his well known lecture and book. The idea is ‘what would you say in your last lecture to a group of people that you hold in very high esteem.’”

Joseph Lakatos“Joe Lakatos is a very interesting individual,” Dr. Carter continued. “He came to UNCP in 2003. He’s a lawyer and an auditor. His condition does not allow him to be in daily contact with people, so he teaches via video. I was able to sit in one of his classes and got to meet to him.”

Through stories about his students, Dr. Lakatos explained the “core” concept. “In your life time, you will have challenges, things will come at you. One day you will stand up and say ‘this is what I’m passionate about.’”

It took some time for Dr. Lakatos to find his core. His father wanted him to be successful financially, and worked as an attorney and auditor for major corporations in Boston and New York.

“For 10 years, I did what he wanted me to and was successful,” Dr. Lakatos said. “It ate at me; I had this anger built up in me.”

Several adjunct teaching, jobs helped him find his core. “I may not be the best teacher, but it’s something I wanted to do and something I want to get better at,” he said.

Does he regret the time lost? “At the end of the day, it worked. I am a non-traditional academic. If I had studied to be a teacher first, would I have been the same teacher? he said. “At the end of the day, “C” equals “P.” Your core has to equal your passion.”

Dr. Lakatos wrapped up his presentation, he encouraged students to retain their integrity and work at their faith. “Integrity is not just about telling the truth when it’s difficult. It’s about being real and keeping the essence of you.

“There is no cure, but there is faith,” he continued. “Faith has been the cornerstone of my life…. Faith helps you accept and forgive. You must forgive to heal. And faith keeps you humble….

“Build your relationship with God,” he advised. “Take care of yourself. Make your life extraordinary. No one can take away your core,” he concluded.

Return to University Newswire

Find UNCP on FacebookJoin UNCP on TwitterSubscribe to UNCP News Feed
 
Loading

© The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
PO Box 1510 Pembroke, NC 28372-1510 • 910.521.6000