The Last Lecture

In the tradition of The Last Lecture, one of Weber State's finest instructors is invited to give a hypothetical final presentation to students and colleagues. This lecture can take any form and be on any topic, and is often a topic that a professor never has the opportunity to present in a typical class.  This long-standing tradition is common throughout the country, and has been a way to honor and highlight the work of one of our faculty members. 

2023 The Last Lecture

with Dr. Carla Koons Trentelman

Lecture Preview


Favorite Memories of Weber


Dr. Carla Koons Trentelman, a professor of sociology, was hired to a tenure-track position in 2009 after teaching at Weber State University as an adjunct and contractual instructor since 2005. While her primary specialization is environmental and natural resource sociology, she has also focused on community work. Dr. Trentelman teaches a diversity of classes, including environmental sociology, sociology of education, medicine and healthcare, and social problems, in addition to core classes such as classical sociological theory and research methods. She enjoys working across colleges. For example, she has team taught a course on cancer with a microbiologist, and collaboratively taught a pair of courses on water and Great Salt Lake with a geobiologist. Her research focuses on natural resources and the environment, particularly issues related to Great Salt Lake, and water – including water conservation and attitudes about it here at Weber State. She has been able to work with some phenomenal undergraduate student researchers on these projects. Dr. Trentelman has also been quite involved in Weber's environmental and sustainability team.

After completing a bachelor's in general studies (BGS) at Weber State College in 1982, in social work, sociology and political science, Trentelman worked in substance abuse treatment for nearly 20 years. While she loved that work through the day she left, sociology had hooked her as an undergraduate, and reeled her in as soon as her youngest graduated from high school. She started graduate school at 42, and earned a master's degree and doctorate in sociology at Utah State University so she could teach. Preferably at Weber State.

For fun, Dr. T can be found wandering around Ogden with her husband of over 40 years, hanging out with her four Grandkids (and the Grands' parents, too), or birding, especially near Great Salt Lake.

*Food insecurity is a substantial problem in our area, as well as among our students. The Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank, at Catholic Community Services (CCS) in Ogden, is the largest food pantry in Northern Utah, serving hundreds of households every month. With the tight economy, food donations have decreased while the need has greatly increased. Carla invites those who attend The Last Lecture to bring canned food donations for either CCS, or for WSU’s Weber Cares pantry.


2022 The Last Lecture



Can One Person Save the Earth?

John Sohl

November 8, 2022

Dr. Sohl has been a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy for the past 32 years. Additionally, he has an appointment in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and has been instrumental in the lives of numerous Wildcats. In addition to all his accolades and community work, Dr. Sohl and his spouse were torchbearers in the 2002 Winter Olympics.

About Dr. Sohl's Topic


Take Aways


2021 Last Lecture

I Had a Wonderful Life Because I Got an Offer I Couldn't Refuse

Mike Vaughan

Friday, November 19, 2021


In his 44 years as a teacher, Michael Vaughan has tried to create meaningful learning experiences for students. Although he started using the lecture style in his class, he gravitated to more experiential and participatory learning.  In both graduate and undergraduate courses, he donated funds to teams of students and challenged them to give the money to nonprofits where the donations would have the greatest impact.  He enjoyed taking students on field trips, and he established the Wall Street Fellows program where students networked with WSU alumni employed in New York’s investment-banking industry.  He often brought business executives, community leaders and authors to campus to meet with students, and he was gratified when those people happened to be former WSU students.

Vaughan held numerous positions at the university, including Department of Economics chair, associate dean and subsequently dean of the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics. As dean, and with the assistance of Mr. Goddard, Vaughan spearheaded the creation of WSU’s MBA program.

From 2004-2015, Vaughan served as provost. Under his leadership, WSU created the Center for Community Engaged Learning, was granted approval and accreditation for the first undergraduate and graduate engineering programs, earned the All-Steinway School designation for the Piano Program and established the LGBT Center.

As provost, Vaughan worked to make higher education accessible and affordable. In 2008, he was instrumental in creating the Dream Weber program, which covers tuition and fees for qualifying WSU students with an annual household income of less than $40,000. The program has made the dream of a college education a reality for thousands of students.


2020-2021 Last Lecture


People and Places: Reflecting on Thirty-One Years of Teaching Anthropology at Weber State University

Brooke Arkush received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California at Riverside in 1989, and has been a full-time faculty member with the Weber State University Department of Sociology and Anthropology since 1990. He teaches mostly archaeology courses/topics, including Prehistory of North America, Prehistory of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau, Archaeological Field Techniques, Archaeological Laboratory Techniques, Archaeological Method and Theory and Cultural Resource Management. Much of his research concerns the prehistory, protohistory, and colonial history of western North America, especially in regard to communal big-game hunting, ancient settlement and subsistence systems, obsidian acquisition and trade, and early historic period Native cultural continuity and change. brooke has led twenty-eight archaeological field school projects with WSU students, many of which were held in remote areas of northern Utah and northern Nevada, as well as southern and eastern Idaho.

2019 Last Lecture

2018 Last Lecture

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The Righter of Wrongs

Mikel Vause has been a professor of English at Weber State University for 35 years. A prolific writer, Mike has penned numerous poems and books focusing on his research interests in mountaineering, exploration literature and environmental studies.  His most recent works include A Mountain Touched by Fire and At last Call for Young Men.  He has received numerous teaching awards including Continuing Education Professor of the Year, Cortez Honors Professor, Crystal Crest Master Teacher, The Lindquist Fellowship for Creative and Artistic Endeavors, and just this year, the Henry Aldous Dixon Award.

Mikel was named the first non-British judge for the Boardman-Tasker Mountaineering Literature Award and chaired the committee during its 20th year. Mike was the Cofounder and Director of the North American Interdisciplinary Conference on Wilderness (later renamed the North American Conference on Environment and Community) and has presented his work twice as the featured speaker for the International Mountain Literature Festival. He is a past Director of the WSU Honors Program and the founding Director of the WSU Environmental Studies Program. He was also the founding Co-Director of the National Undergraduate Literature Conference which has hosted approximately 6500 student participants at Weber State since 1985.

Mikel's presentation today is based on his publication, “Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: The Righter of Wrongs or Exposing the Crimes of the Mormons” in A Tangled Skein.  He was invited to present this work at “The Baker Street Irregulars Expedition to the Country of the Saints” Conference in Salt Lake City on the 75th Anniversary of Doyle’s visit to Utah.  A copy of the essay has been placed in the BSI Official Archive at Harvard University.  Mike is a Weber State alum who went on to receive his Dual MA in American Studies and Literature, followed by a Ph.D. in 19th Century British and American Literature at Bowling Green University.  He’s married to Janis Barker and has four children, Kelly, Emily, Sarah, and Jared and 15 grandchildren.

Click here to view the PowerPoint from Mikel Vause's Presentation.

2017 Last Lecture

Molly Smith

"Off The Blocks without Goggle or Google"

2016 Last Lecture

Dixie has spent most of her career training teachers. She began as an adjunct math instructor at WSU. That experience grew into a full time position and necessitated earning an MS in Curriculum and Instruction in 1990 from WSU. She worked with Pat Henry on multiple teacher training grants including an NSF grant which required writing curriculum to train middle school teachers. She wrote six books in two years and created a “Math Specialist” concentration for elementary teachers. After Pat Henry retired she recruited Diane Pugmire to help teach the prospective elementary teachers. This involved teaching day classes, professional development for school districts, working on teacher training grants, working with the State Office of Education to create an elementary math endorsement, and teaching endorsement courses for surrounding districts.


2015 Last Lecture

Diane Kawamura

"The Original Shades of Gray"

2014 Last Lecture

Brad Carroll

"Reflections of a Time Traveler"

2013 Last Lecture

In March, we were happy to hear from Fran Butler, from the Department of Education for our 2013 "Last Lecture."  Fran Butler is a Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Weber State University, in Ogden, Utah. She came to Weber State University in 1999 after completing her EdD at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in methods and instructional design for students with disabilities or at-risk for school failure. Her research interests include issues in international special education, mathematics disabilities, curriculum and instruction, learning strategies, and teacher preparation. Dr. Butler is the Primary Investigator for Project PRIME, a grant funded through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) part D. Project PRIME is an alternative preparation program for teachers seeking licensure in Special Education throughout the state of Utah and has been in operation since 2007. In addition, she serves as coordinator for on-campus and distance Special Education programs and works with district and state partners to improve outcomes for students with disabilities.

Access to past videos:

Q&A Session with Dr. Crawford