Last Lecture speaker discusses humanity, human rights

Seth Hutchins

On Tuesday the Student Alumni Association hosted the first lecture in the second annual Last Lecture Series, a discussion on humanity from psychology professor Sam MacFarland.

In his lecture titled “The Slow Creation of Humanity”, MacFarland talked about the development of humanity and human rights over the years. He talked about the effects of the Holocaust and the people who helped the Jews during the genocide.

He also mentioned the poor treatment of the Native Americans during the discover of America, and the events that lead to the abolishment of slavery in the 1700’s. 

According to MacFarland, all those things lead to a change in how humanity was perceived worldwide. 

MacFarland first came to WKU back in 1971 and has been teaching at the Psychology department for more than 40 years. He also directed the University’s Honor Program until1998. He currently teaches an honors program about humans rights, a subject he’s been interested in since he was young.

“I’ve been a human rights activist for many years,” he said. “This has been something I’ve been concerned with since I’ve been in college.”

According to Tori Henninger, Assistant Director for Alumni Relations, the Last Lecture Series allows retiring WKU staff and faculty members (or those on optional retirement) to give a speech to Western’s student body. 

Among the people attending MacFarland’s lecture were students Casey Ford, a psychology major from Woodburn and Tia O’Neal, a nutrition major from Portland, Tennessee. 

They both attended the event as part of an assignment for a Psychology class and found the lecture to be enjoyable. When asked about whether they would they attend the next event in the Last Lecture Series, they were both unsure as to whether they would attend.

“It depend on what the lecture is about,” Ford said.