posted February 26, 2009

Bill Mayer to Speak through “Last Lecture Series”

Bill Mayer of the HopeCollege art faculty will present the address "Ex Voto: Tool for Living" on Monday, March 9, at 7 p.m. in the college's Knickerbocker Theatre, located in downtown Holland.

                        The public is invited.  Admission is free.

                        Mayer is the third speaker in the new "Last Lecture Series" organized by the college's Alcor chapter of the national Mortar Board honorary society to feature members of the faculty.  The series debuted in November.

The title of the series is rhetorical.  The lectures are not literally presented as the last that the speakers will deliver at Hope, but are meant to highlight the advice that they would most want to share if the event was indeed the final opportunity for them to address the college's students.  The professors are being asked to reflect on their careers and lives, and to think deeply about what matters to them and about what wisdom they would like to impart.

                        The concept was inspired by the "Last Lecture" delivered at CarnegieMellonUniversity by Dr. Randy Pausch on Sept. 18, 2007.  Pausch, a member of the Carnegie Mellon faculty who had terminal pancreatic cancer - a fact known at the time that he spoke - presented "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams."  He died on July 25, 2008, at age 47.

A professor of art, Mayer teaches sculpture and oversees the ceramics program.  He joined the Hope faculty in 1978, and served as the chair of the department of art and art history from 1987 until 2004.

His sculpture has taken many forms and is executed in a broad range of media: glass, ceramics, fabricated aluminum, cast bronze and plastic.  Mayer's large outdoor polychrome aluminum sculptures are a familiar sight in the Holland area; one residing outside the Herrick Public Library, another at the Herman Miller Corporate Office, two on Hope's campus, one at the Howard Miller Company headquarters and another at ChristCommunityChurch in SpringLake.  His most recent work is in sculptural light fixtures, several of which are currently in commercial production.  Lighting commissions he designed can be seen in Holland at the New Holland Brewing Company, at the Holland Bar Stool Company and in Fennville at the Journeyman Restaurant.

The somewhat eclectic range of his work reflects the wide array of his interests.  Mayer is an amateur, but avid musician and collector of guitars and tube amplifiers. He is also an enthusiastic motorcyclist, owning two--a Buell and a Harley - as well as more than 400 toy motorcycles; and is a dedicated cross-country skier and recently has taken up kayaking.

Mayer traveled to Japan in 2002 with his wife, Michel, and Hope students for a May Term in Japan. He traveled to Yeo Ju, Korea for the Millennial Ceramics Exhibition in 2001.  In May of 2004, He and his wife traveled to Jingdezhen, China for the 1,000 years celebration of porcelain conference.

He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Fine Arts degree from PennsylvaniaStateUniversity.

Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service, and provides opportunities for continued leadership development, promotes service to college and universities, and encourages lifelong contributions to the global community.  Since its founding in 1918, the organization has grown from the four founding chapters to 226 collegiate chapters with nearly 250,000 initiated members across the nation.

The Alcor chapter has existed at Hope since the 1936-37 academic year, although it did not become part of the national Mortar Board organization until 1961.

The chapter also sponsored a "last chance talk" during the 1960s.  The idea back then was to invite a faculty member to express his/her ideas under the hypothetical assumption that this would be the last opportunity to address the student body.  The late Dr. D. Ivan Dykstra, professor of philosophy, delivered the first "last chance talk" in the spring of 1962.

                        The Knickerbocker Theatre is located at 86 E. Eighth St.