By Lauren Foster ‘15
It’s that time of year again where the temperature begins to drop, leaves start to fall, and Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society on campus, begins preparations for the annual First Lecture event.
Reverend Raymond Dlugos, the Vice President for Mission and Student Affairs, noted that the First Lecture is similar to another event hosted on campus in the fall semester, the Last Lecture. The Last Lecture exists across the country consisting of a faculty member sharing what is important to them. Merrimack has been holding this tradition for a very long time. The First Lecture gives the opportunity for a student to do the same, in a manner of what they would say to the first time to someone.
“It provides an opportunity to hear from a student that we might not necessarily hear from, but we should,” stated Tim O’Leary ’15, Student Government President.
The First Lecturer process starts with nominations. Anyone on campus can nominate a student or themselves to give the First Lecture. Nominations end on November 14th. Those who are nominated are then invited to meet with a committee consisting of other students who are members of ODK and Student Government Association and Fr. Ray Dlugos for a 15-minute interview.
Dlugos commented that the interview does not cover what the potential First Lecturer would talk about. In fact, it is meant to be a surprise of what they will talk about at the actual event.
“We are not picking the best speech or the best idea. We are picking the person we believe the Merrimack College community would like to hear most from. Instead the interview is about whom they are as a person, such as what they have done, what they plan to do in the future, amongst other things.”
After the interviews take place, members of ODK, SGA, and Father Ray look over the nominations.
“Well, it’s not unlike electing a Pope,” noted Dlugos. “We have discussions where people say why a certain person should do it based on what we heard in the interview and then we have several rounds of ballots to see where the group falls on the decision.”
Tyler McCarthy ’15, Vice President of Omicron Delta Kappa said ODK is looking forward to finding the student who will be giving the First Lecture. “We have received some nominations already and we are excited to hear from the chosen student on how they made it their Merrimack.”
O’Leary is looking forward to getting started with the selection process for the second year in a row. “You get to meet a lot of interesting people and it’s a very tough selection process. It’s always interesting to see how the winner emerges.”
Dlugos assumes that Merrimack is the only college in the country to host a First Lecture. “I believe it is unique for us to do this. I believe it has great potential to inspire, challenge, and make us all Merrimack Proud. Let’s make it a celebration of the student body of Merrimack College at its best.”
Every student is eligible to be nominated and self-nominations are acceptable. To nominate a student, e-mail OSI@Merrimack.edu prior to November 14th with the student’s name, a brief description, and why they should deliver the First Lecture.