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Rev gives last sermon

February 12, 2011

By Kyle Huneycutt, A&E Editor

"Rev" Fred Whitely encouraged students to seize the day in his Last Lecture, given on Jan. 27, in Wilson Lecture Hall. Photo by Nadia Dean

“Carpe Diem!” These words reverberated off the walls in Wilson Lecture Hall last Thursday evening for students who decided to attend the SGA and Arts Assembly sponsored weekly series, “The Last Lecture.”

The idea behind this series is to give Young Harris College faculty and various guest scholars the chance to give one lecture as if it were their very last. The response to these lectures have generally been very positive, and the latest session was no exception, nearly every seat in the hall accounted for.

Thursday’s speaker was no stranger to the campus of YHC, Reverend “Rev” Whitely, once professor and campus minister of this college for nearly 30 years. Whitely began his lecture the same way he greeted many of his classes, with the ancient biblical Hebrew word, “Shalom,” or peace, wholeness, abundance of life.

Words that he believes embody “what being a student at YHC is all about.”

Those who had had the pleasure of hearing Whitely speak before this lecture, undoubtedly knew what was in store for them in the following 45 minutes. The others who may have thought this was going to be a boring lecture were in for pleasant surprise.

“It was intense. He was so enthusiastic and moving. You absolutely had to pay attention to what he was saying,” said Maryanne Schramke, an undecided sophomore from Blairsville.

Many words could be used to describe Whitely, but boring wasn’t one of them.

Whitely continued to use his time to the fullest by making humorous allusions to Robin Williams in the movie The Dead Poet’s Society, or to Larry Walters, who thought it wise to tie 45 helium filled weather balloons to a lawn chair in which he happened to be sitting.

But stirring just under the surface of these entertaining stories was a much deeper meaning filled with a thought provoking challenge in which he ideally summarizes in two words, “Carpe Diem,” seize the day.

Whitely ended the evening with these parting words.

“If you want to do more than just make a living and consume, if you want to have a fulfilling life, Carpe Diem, and you will live a life that will make a difference to others.”

A roaring standing ovation immediately ensued, the audience clearly impressed with Whitelys’ powerful words.

Rebecca Robinson, a junior biology major from the city of Young Harris said, “He inspires you to do so much. He raises energy throughout the entire time, making his audience energetic too. He was very invigorating.”

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