Lynn Stanton-Riggs, associate provost and professor of education emerita, emphasized the importance of gratitude and vulnerability as she reflected on her career upon entering its newest phase – retirement – during her “Last Lecture,” for the faculty lecture series Tuesday on WebEx.
Before she started the lecture, she asked her audience to give gratitude for whatever they were grateful for. Stanton-Riggs said that she practices this every day, along with daily self reflection.
There were many different aspects to her journey, one of which was her art, which she showed to the audience and explained that this was a part of her journey that she felt had an impact.
Certain traumatic events she had experienced at key points in her life molded her and taught her empathy, she said.
Stanton-Riggs said she felt vulnerable but courageous after she started sharing her life experiences with others.
“We rise to the occasions as best as we can,” Stanton-Riggs said.
Stanton-Riggs said that sharing deeply personal and impactful stories can help the community move forward with empathy and compassion.
“My path is but one way to provide the very best care for our students, and I hope that my journey inspired others to find their own path to care deeply for our students’ well-being,” Stanton-Riggs said.
Stanton-Riggs said that despite the current crisis we find ourselves in, there are ways to minimize the impact it has on mental health. Connection and service are key.
“Even in this time of COVID, get involved in some way outside of your classes. Join a club, be a tutor, attend virtual events when you can,” Stanton-Riggs said. “Keeping involved will lessen the stress of physical distancing and help you be ready when we are able to be back on campus face-to-face.”
Some of the event’s online audience members said they were inspired by Stanton-Riggs’ message Tuesday, as well as from working with her for many years.
“My greatest takeaway is to be courteous and courageous in your approach to others and the world,” said Professor of Humanities Al Clark, who is also the faculty lecture series coordinator.
Deputy Chief of Student Affairs Officer Ruby Montaño-Cordova, who attended Tuesday, recounted her working relationship with Stanton-Riggs.
“I am very proud of sharing our time at La Verne, but more importantly for the long standing relationship we have had for 46 years,” Montaño-Cordova said. “You inspire me in this challenging time, so I hope that students still have an opportunity to experience you and all that you give.”
Stanton-Riggs has many plans for her retirement.
“My husband and I will be spending time with our grandchildren, getting more exercise, and looking for ways to volunteer in our community,” Stanton-Riggs said.
She said that she is also considering writing a textbook on the importance of adult social and emotional skills and children’s healthy development.
“It is important for me to continue my work impacting children and families in a positive way,” Stanton-Riggs said.
Gabriella Cummings can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.