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Dean Harrison gives last lecture
If you think that this is Dean Ewan Harrison’s last lecture at Washington University, you have nothing to worry about. Still, he delivered a talk as part of the Last Lecture series hosted by the Congress of the South 40 (CS40) before a packed crowd in McDonnell 162.
“I was extremely flattered when I was approached to give this lecture,” said Harrison, Assistant Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences. “I was curious at the same time. I did not know what The Last Lecture was about and was intrigued about the series. Overall, my initial reaction was that it is going to be great fun.”
Harrison was nominated during an online survey sent out to members and residents of the South 40. He was eventually voted to be the lecturer by members of the CS40 Assembly.
During the talk, Harrison gave an extensive account of his background and European heritage. In particular, he recounted his life growing up in Britain before moving back to the United States five years ago.
“The first thing that people notice about me here is my accent,” Harrison said during the talk. “People ask if I am British and others inquire if I have an Australian ancestry. I treat this as reverse discrimination. I was born in Princeton, N. J. and moved back to Britain at the age of four. I grew up in the County of Essex, in a town called Danbury. Essex is, in my opinion, the New Jersey equivalence in Britain. And interestingly enough, my parents used to live in a town in New Jersey called Cranberry, which rhymed with Danbury.”
Harrison left the students with three pieces of advice which he has gleaned from his life experiences thus far. He urged students to make sure that they spend some stage of their lives abroad and not to pass on any opportunities to live abroad. In addition, he admired America’s openness to foreigners and hoped that students will continue to appreciate immigration. Lastly, he advised students to adopt a global outlook in life.
“Globalization will truly begin when the countries such as China, India and Brazil begin to overtake America in the near future,” Harrison said. “The world that you are going into will be more globalized with much less western and American influences. Look at yourself as much as a citizen of the world as a citizen of America.”
Students who attended the lecture left on a positive note.
“It was excellent,” sophomore Suzanne Mazhuvanchery said. “I did not know Dean Harrison prior to this lecture but now I feel like I have a connection to him. And his advices were definitely very pertaining to the world that we will be going into and they will come in handy.”
Other students shared Mazhuvanchery’s sentiments.
“I am an international student from Singapore and I can definitely relate to Dean Harrison’s experience,” sophomore He Qi, outgoing Director of Finance of CS40. said. “His advice offered a balanced view of the globalization of the future.”
The Last Lecture is an annual event hosted by the CS40 at the end of the academic year. It serves as a platform for professors and faculty of Wash. U. to reflect upon their lives and impart wisdom to the students.
“The series has been going on for approximately three years,” sophomore Harish Chamarthy, outgoing Academic Chair for CS40, said. “In a way, it wraps up the academic year and allows students to listen to something inspiring. Lecturers are not restricted to a specific topic, thus they can pretty much talk about anything that they think will be good advice to give to the students.”