Dale Austin, who is associate dean with the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career at Hope College, will present the address “Off the Record: Adventure, Purpose, Service” on Monday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall through the “Last Lecture Series” organized by the college’s chapter of the national Mortar Board honorary society.
The public is invited. Admission is free, although those who attend are asked to consider bringing donations of personal-care products such as shampoo, body wash, toothpaste and deodorant or non-perishable food items that the chapter will deliver to the Holland Rescue Mission. In addition, the chapter will collect a free-will offering to support the Holland Rescue Mission as well as the chapter’s activities.
Austin has been a member of the Hope staff since 1981. Across his 38 years at the college, he has worked with more than 20 professional staff to serve the career development needs of Hope students. Among other activities, he helped begin the peer-education program currently known as “Career Ambassadors,” started a number of recruiting fairs, developed a range of programmatic initiatives, and provided the leadership and direction for the Career Development Center for more than 30 years.
As a part of his work at Hope, he has served as the first president of the Liberal Arts Career NetWORK (LACN, liberalartscareers.org), the premier consortium for liberal arts colleges addressing the career development needs of students. Austin incorporated LACN as a 501 (c) (3) organization and developed, branded and trademarked one of LACN’s signature resources, Spotlight on Careers. In addition to co-founding the Big Apple Recruiting Consortium (BARC), providing interview opportunities for students in New York City, he has served as president of two Michigan based recruiting consortia.
In 2018, the Career Development Center was integrated into the new Boerigter Center for Calling and Career, a college-wide initiative that operates in combination with staff from the college’s career development, academic advising, and alumni and family engagement programs. The Boerigter Center seeks to inspire students to engage in lifelong practices of career development by emphasizing discernment, preparation and pursuit. Its programming is designed to enable all Hope students, beginning in their first semester, to understand their strengths, engage in experiences that directly connect to career preparation, discern vocational and life goals, and ascertain clear next steps toward their future.
The series title “Last Lecture” 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 faculty and staff would most want to share if the event was indeed their final opportunity to address the college’s students. The speakers are asked to reflect on their careers and lives, and to think deeply about what matters to them and the wisdom they would like to impart.
The concept was inspired by the “Last Lecture” delivered at Carnegie Mellon University 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.
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 232 collegiate chapters with more than 250,000 initiated members across the nation.
Hope College’s Dianne Portfleet Alcor chapter has existed since the 1936-37 academic year, although it did not become part of the national Mortar Board organization until 1961. Renamed for former long-time faculty adviser Dr. Dianne Portfleet in May 2016, it has through the years received multiple awards from the national Mortar Board organization, including being named the top chapter during the Mortar Board National Conference in July 2010.
The chapter also sponsored a “last chance talk” during the 1960s, inviting faculty to express their 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.
Audience members who need assistance to fully enjoy any event at Hope are encouraged to contact the college's Events and Conferences Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 616-395-7222 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.