Dr. Pecaut to Deliver “Last Lecture”


Get excited for this year’s Last Lecture Series! We are so excited to announce that Physics professor Dr. Mark Pecaut will be giving this thrilling lecture about life, as if it were his last. This talk is modeled after a lecture given by Dr. Randy Pausch, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. One month before he was scheduled to give the lecture, his cancer was deemed terminal. Dr. Pausch used this opportunity to impart to students inspiration to follow their dreams, as well as important lessons he learned over the course of his lifetime. Many top academics around the country began to think deeply about what really matters to them and gave similar hypothetical “last lectures,” conveying their personal wisdom to others as if it were their last chance.

Dr. Pecaut grew up near Jefferson City, Missouri. He performed his undergraduate studies at Truman State University where he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Math and Physics. After graduation, he briefly attended MIT for a semester until he realized this was not where he was meant to be. He then moved to Missouri where he worked in Civil Drafting and Computer Support. This was only a brief stop in his busy life. Shortly after returning to Missouri, he joined the Peace Corp with his wife Amy. Together, the two of them worked in West Africa teaching physics and biology, as well as developing a 20-computer lab for the school there. Once his two years of service was over, he moved to Wyoming and worked as a web and database programmer before returning to school at the University of Rochester in New York, where he earned his doctorate in Physics and Astronomy.

That leads us to where he is today. Dr. Pecaut started at Rockhurst University in 2013, where he now teaches classes in physics and mathematics. He also frequently conducts research in the field of observational astronomy, often times allowing his students to assist in the research. When Dr. Pecaut is not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife Amy and three children. His oldest daughter is Athena (11), followed by his son Ambrose (8), and his youngest daughter Odessa (6). Time not spent with his family consists of running ultra marathons, six of which he has successfully completed. He also enjoys playing solitaire and watching documentaries with a good cup of coffee.

His talk will be on how the Jesuit Values play a role in his life. He asks that you keep an open mind throughout his lecture, as he takes a somewhat backwards approach to the traditional viewpoint. The personal twist he puts on them can open your mind and give you a different perspective that you may not have thought of before.

Please join us on Wednesday, November 9th at 9:00 pm in Science Center 115 to hear Dr. Pecaut’s words of wisdom!