Howard W. Hewitt – Lon Porter wasted little time Thursday morning proving not every Chapel talk has to be ideologically driven or necessarily all that serious.
Don’t misunderstand; he had a point to make to the student gathering. But the BKT Asst. Prof. of Chemistry used plenty of humor to entertain while encouraging students to embrace their education.
The title of his talk, maybe the longest in Chapel history, summed it up best: “Well, I’m one of those fortunate people who like my job, Sir: Further Ramblings of a Wabash Chemistry Pledge. An ‘almost’ explosion free presentation by Lon Porter.”
Oh yes, there was an explosion as you can see in the accompanying photo. But that was just part of the pyrotechnics. Porter used still images and video clips from television and movies to illustrate the influences he felt while growing up.
Porter talked about the unique times at Wabash as a new president, dean, librarian and other positions are being filled. He noted that weeks before spring break everyone is tired. “We all have that in common,” he said to students, including faculty and staff.
He talked about how much he enjoyed his job because of his students and relationship with other faculty and staff.
He reflected on growing up in Texas and an array of humorous childhood memories. He described his journey to becoming a Professor. He remembered being forced into an Honors School at the University of Houston which became his introduction to liberal arts.
“If they had not forced that on me, I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” he said. He talked about his family’s influence and his marriage to Visiting Instructor of Biology, Maureen McColgin.
He encouraged the students to not just pass the tests and engage themselves in labs but to “think about what you take away from your class work.
Porter spoke to Chapel in his first year at Wabash and referred to it as one of the highlights of his career. He admitted he wanted to try the small explosion then, but also feared burning the Chapel might be a bad career move.
On top of everything else, he delighted the students by sharing it was not only a privilege to give his second Chapel talk but he was doing it on his 29th birthday.