In ‘Last Lecture,’ Professor Bruce Monger Tells Students to Dream Big

Think big and carve your own paths, urged Prof. Bruce Monger, earth and atmospheric sciences, in his “last lecture.”
The last lecture series, hosted by Mortar Board, brings speakers to reflect on his or her life experiences and share thoughts with students, as if it was the speaker’s last lecture. In his lecture titled “My Slightly Unusual Life-Journey And Some Important Things I Have Learned Along the Way…,” Monger recounted how he grew up in the small town of Shelton, Washington, where the two main industries were saw mills and logging. Despite his deep love for science as a child, Monger said in high school he “just mindlessly sort of followed what [his] friends were doing,” taking carpentry and woodshop instead of science classes. After high school, he continued to follow his friends and went into the logging business, “because that’s what everyone else did.” However, during one solo motorcycle trip to Colorado during a summer vacation, he had an epiphany that changed the direction of his life. While checking into a motel, he realized, “That’s what adults do…I’m totally an adult. I’m in charge of everything now.