Star lecturer Delph talks happiness

Students lined the room, sat in the isles and jostled each other for space to hear Ronald Delph deliver his message for the fourth installment of the Honors College’s Star Lecture Series in an over capacity Halle Library Auditorium Tuesday.

“Happiness is something we can control,” Delph said. “We are hard wired as a species—we need certain things to be happy.”

Delph’s lecture was titled "The Richly Textured Life" and was part of the Honors College’s larger series Soar Higher: Pursuing a Life Well Lived. This year’s series stresses the importance of leading a balanced life by succeeding not only professionally, but personally as well.

In his talk, Delph stressed not only the importance of leading a life of the mind, but paying attention to all phases of your life, including exercise, immersion in culture through the arts and travel and keeping an open mind by continually being willing to learn new things.

“I think it [leading a balanced life] takes a lot of practice,” said Chelsea Lobb, EMU sophomore electronic media and film study major. “I think it is something you have to work on. You are not going to jump in the first week and have a completely balanced schedule, but if you take the time to get yourself in a schedule you can do it.”

According to Delph, no one aspect of happiness is more important than another and it is important that people begin to strive toward achieving this type of balance as early as possible. Delph said this is why traveling abroad is so critical.

“Think about some of the things you have done that have made you happy,” Delph said. “The experiences I have had as I study abroad and meeting other people, getting to know other families, living with these families and looking at the way people live their lives…they think differently and express themselves differently and I find that absolutely fascinating.”

Delph teaches a highly popular travel abroad course for EMU over winter breaks called Power, Place and Image in Florence and Rome, where according to the EMU course description, “students will travel to Florence and Rome where they will investigate the dynamics of political, social, and religious power and the relationships between men and women that characterized life in these cities in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance eras. [They] will explore how political, social, and religious power and cultural values were expressed in monuments, palaces, city walls, churches, and works of art.”

“I thought the lecture was very enlightening,” said Anthony Gonzalez, EMU sophomore and political science major. “It gave me a perspective about happiness and I think about things a little bit differently now. I think now I am more encouraged than every to travel abroad. We are very isolated in America and we have this idea that the only view of the world is the American view.”

Delph said happiness is within everyone’s reach and it is up to the individual to find what makes them happy, what they are passionate about and to seek it out.

“Find your passion and figure out how you can get paid for it,” Delph said. “For your average student, there are some things that I talked about tonight that if they want to be happy it’s within their power. That is what I hope they took away from [the lecture].”


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