Posts Tagged ‘Dillon Lecture Series’

Overcoming adversity: ‘Breaking Bad’ actor R.J. Mitte speaks about overcoming challenges in his life

Friday, October 5th, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Collegian Editor-In-Chief

When a child is asked what they want to be when they grow up, they hardly ever say sitting in an office all day or doing something they aren’t fond of. Instead they say they want to be a doctor, firefighter, singer, or even an actor/actress. The limits have seemed to change for college students who once had those dreams themselves.

Twenty-six-year-old actor, model, and cerebral palsy activist, R.J Mitte who spoke at the Ray and Stella Dillon Lecture Series on Tuesday Oct. 2 at the Sports Arena, explains that no one should limit themselves on what they can or can’t do. Mitte spoke about struggles he has faced with the condition and stressed the thought, “Can’t is a decision, and a mindset.”

Mitte is most known for roles in television shows, the main one being Walter White Jr. on AMC’s hit show “Breaking Bad”, who has cerebral palsy, same as Mitte, except in reality, Mitte’s condition is milder, so he had to slow his speech and learn to walk with crutches for the show.

Mitte, like others with CP, was born with the disorder where the brain lacks the appropriate amount of oxygen.  Mitte is also known for characters he played in “Switched at Birth”, “Weeds”, “Vegas”, and even acted in “Hannah Montana” and “Everybody Hates Chris”.

Still acting, Mitte helps with several charities on the side, such as Shriners Hospitals for Children, Special Olympics, ALS Associations, and many more organizations dedicated to helping others.

Mitte was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana. From age 3-13, his mother took him to Shriners Hospital for many types of therapy and braces. Mitte was a “severe toe walker and his feet bent downwards, so he walked on the tips of his toes, so he had to go through a lot of physical therapy. During his lecture, Mitte described the casts he had to wear and shared about sticking frozen coins in them during the hot summer to cool his legs.

Despite his optimism, growing up with the disorder had its challenges. Even though Mitte participated in normal childhood activities like soccer and riding dirt bikes, he explained what it was like with bullies.

“People with disabilities don’t want to be labeled as disabled,” Mitte said.

He also explained how a lot of people stand by while bullying takes place.

“If you see something, say something,” Mitte said. “Everyone has the ‘someone else will take care of it’ mentality and we need to break it.”

Mitte followed that thought with a story involving a blind man on the same plane as him recently. The man was in need of assistance, according to Mitte, and got lost trying to figure out where he was going. Mitte decided to step up and guide the man, even though he was a stranger and several people were watching the blind man struggle, yet Mitte was the only one that took initiative.

From a young age, Mitte learned the importance of self-worth. His grandfather pushed the philosophy of “Can’t say can’t” and the idea stuck with him. When answering his grandpa, Mitte had two options, “Yes”, or “I wasn’t in the room, or didn’t hear you.”

His grandfather showed him that even though people told Mitte he couldn’t do specific things, that it was their decision, not his and wanted him to be the best he could be.

Mitte not only faced his own obstacles, but his family’s as well. When he was 12-and-a-half years old, Mitte’s mother was in a car accident that partially paralyzed her for seven years. His grandfather also suffered a stroke that left him fully paralyzed on the left side.

“Without challenges, where would we be in our lives?” Mitte said. “It’s those challenges that shape us.”

In 2006 Mitte’s family moved to California to support his sister, Lacianne, while she was trying out for an acting opportunity. That was also the time, Mitte was recognized and started going to acting classes just for fun and to meet kids his own age. Before he knew it, Mitte was pushed into the entertainment industry, or as he called it, “The Mob”.

The main focus of Mitte’s speech was to not limit yourself to the small things, but instead reach as far as you can, and then even further.

“It’s up to you how far you want to reach,” Mitte said. “Step out of your realm of comfort.”

When asked earlier in the press conference what the overall message would be to the Hutchinson Community College students, Mitte said, “Protect your brand and image, you are cultivating your business, jobs look at you as an individual on social media and what you represent.”

Mitte also wanted to inform students that being aware of who they are and not being afraid to show people their true self is important.

“The people around you set your tone, if you don’t stand up for something, then who will?,” Mitte said. “We only get one chance to show people who and what we are, so stand up for what you believe in, what we believe is all we have.”

 

 

Astronaut Capt. Scott Kelly inspires crowd

Friday, April 20th, 2018

By Merissa Anderson
Collegian Editor

On April 17, one of the largest crowds the Dillon Lecture Series has ever seen, more than 4,000 people, gathered to listen to astronaut Capt. Scott Kelly, as he inspired the crowd with his speech and reminded them that “the sky is not the limit”.

From the second Kelly stepped on stage to a standing ovation, he told the story of how he transformed himself from class-skipping college student to a beloved and historic astronaut with nearly six million current twitter followers.

“When I was a kid growing up, I was a really, really bad student,” Kelly said, speaking to the hundreds of elementary to high school students from surrounding school districts. “I wanted to do anything else besides be a student.”

Kelly told of his difficulties with ADD and ADHD throughout his primary schooling before explaining that these issues continued to plague him in his first years of college.

“I was still struggling,” Kelly said. “I couldn’t pay attention. I couldn’t study. Eventually, I’m not even going to class anymore.”

But one book from his campus bookstore transformed his life.

“One day, I’m wandering across campus and happen to go into the bookstore to buy gum or something, and I see this book on the shelf,” Kelly said. “I was interested enough that I took my gum money, purchased the book, went back to my dorm room and laid there for the next three days on my unmade dorm room bed and read the stories.”

The book was “The Right Stuff” by Tom Wolfe which told of how astronauts during earlier space travel reached their success.

“If I could just become a better student, maybe I could one day become an astronaut,” Kelly said.

And he did.

The rest of Kelly’s speech followed his adventures and mishaps that he experienced during his more than 500 days in space, while the crowd, packed shoulder-to-shoulder, listened intently on.

Although a career as an astronaut requires intense focus and drive to study, Kelly certainly kept his humor throughout his travels, and he sprinkled his speech with plenty of jokes to keep the crowd entertained and smiling.

“If we can dream it, we can do it,” Kelly said.

“If we have a plan, if we’re willing to take the the risks and make mistakes, if we focus on the things we can control and ignore what we can’t, if we test the status-quo and if we work as a team, because teamwork makes the dream work, and if we do that, then the sky is definitely not the limit.”

Behind the scenes of the Dillon Lecture Series

Friday, April 6th, 2018

By Pablo Sanchez
Staff Writer

Much goes into planning the Dillon Lecture Series, which brings four renowned speakers, to Hutchinson Community College annually.

Robin Woodworth – Administrative Assistant to the President – handles all of HutchCC President Carter File’s appointments. Woodworth is helping out with the Board of Trustees and helps out with the lecture series. She contacts a potential speaker’s agent to see if they are willing to give a lecture.

Woodworth has been with the college for seven years and working in File’s office for two years

“Dillon Lecture Series is an organization that started 36 years ago by two ladies in the community, Jeanette Mull and Barbara Peirce, and they wanted to do something based on K-State that had a lecture series, something they can bring to Hutch,” Woodworth said. “We have four speakers a year that come in, on a variety of topics, and the community gets together.

“There’s different topics. We don’t try to focus on any one thing. It’s just who the community will suggest. The community will ask a name, and we will look into it and see if they would be available, if they’re in budget range and what the community thinks. In the past lecture years, there were five or six speakers but, because of the increase in cost of the speaking fees, it takes a lot to get four.”

As far getting a speaker selected, the event organizers come across someone in the news that sounds interesting, or based on a book they wrote.

“We have several people in Kansas, speakers that we have connection with. Dave Dillon came from the Dillon family and was the CEO of Kroger at the same and he came and spoke,” said Woodworth, adding that other Hutchinson natives like Shawn James have been among the series’ speakers.

The community and Woodworth are in the process of selecting speakers for 2019, and if anyone has someone that they think that would be interesting, she would email it to the community she would like to get some speakers for 2019 because they will start their patron drive in late fall and will want to present to them so they want to be a patron.

Annually the community will spend around $4,000-5,000 on a speaker but, yearly the community will spend $45,000-50,000

Dillon Lecture Series

Tickets: Free for students with ID. General admission tickets are $10

Rest of 2018 lecture schedule: April 17, astronaut Scott Kelly; actor RJ Mitte, who battles cerebral-palsy; flight attendant Doreen Walsh, who was on the US Airways flight that landed on the Hudson River.

Astronaut Capt. Scott Kelly in Hutch on April 17

Friday, April 6th, 2018

By Merissa Anderson
Collegian Editor

Navy Capt. Scott Kelly, an astronaut best known for his year-long voyage on the International Space Station, will be visiting Hutchinson Community College for what should be an awe-inspiring speech April 17 through the Dillon Lecture Series and Cosmosphere.

According to Kelly’s web site, scottkelly.com, he is a former military fighter pilot and test pilot, an engineer, a retired astronaut, and a retired U.S. Navy captain. He is a veteran of four space flights, and Kelly commanded the International Space Station on three expeditions and was a member of the yearlong mission to the ISS. In Oct. 2015, he set the record for the total accumulated number of days spent in space, the single longest space mission by an American astronaut.

Kelly resides in Houston.

Robin Woodworth, HutchCC Administrative Assistant to the President and Dillon Lecture Series Coordinator, said she believes that Kelly’s speech on will be important for the community and campus.

“He encourages people to dream and keep persevering and, as he says, ‘The sky is not the limit’,” Woodworth said. “I hope students will take advantage of this, because it’s an opportunity that a lot of people won’t have. I just hope that they would attend all of the Dillon Lectures, because even though they may not know the person or recognize the name, they certainly have something we feel would be a good message for this.”

Sam Wilson, a HutchCC sophomore and box office associate at the Cosmosphere, said he has been looking forward to Kelly’s lecture for months.

“When I first heard that Scott Kelly was coming to Hutchinson, I was ecstatic,” Wilson said. “Being able to hear first-hand accounts of monumental accomplishments, such as living through a long-duration space flight, is exhilarating. It definitely gives me hope for the future of space flight.”

On average, a Dillon Lecture will draw in a crowd of 1,500 people to 1,800, according to Woodworth. But, because of the attention that Kelly’s inspiring adventure has drawn, upwards of 2,300 people are expected to attend.

“I think this will probably be the largest and most-attended lecture,” Woodworth said. “The Cosmosphere spoke to us when we were selecting speakers for the 2018 lectures and suggested that we partner up with Capt. Scott Kelly. They certainly had followed his year in space and thought that he would be a good speaker. It’s a win-win situation for us.

Admittance into the lecture is free for HutchCC students, faculty and staff with an ID. For anyone else interested in attending Kelly’s lecture, tickets are $10.

“From what I can tell, he’s going to tie in his life experiences and struggles from when he was younger,” Woodworth said. “He’ll also talk about how he has endured obstacles and how he never would have imagined he would make history.”

 

Holthus lecture was a touchdown

Friday, February 9th, 2018

By Brenna Eller
Opinion Page Editor

Mitch Holthus, the man who paints a picture with his words as “The Voice of the Kansas City Chiefs”, spoke at the first Dillon Lecture Series of the Hutchinson Community College 2018 spring semester on Tuesday at the Sports Arena.

In his speech, “Success in Being Different”, he used several examples of being different in a giving manner.

Mitch Holthus is a Smith Center native and still gives on-air and Twitter shoutouts every now and then to the Redmen. He and his wife, Tami, who is from McPherson, both graduated from Kansas State. She played basketball and later became the assistant coach for their daughter’s basketball team at Silver Lake, which won a state championship in the Sports Arena.

Along with announcing Chiefs and ESPN games, Mitch Holthus also does some things to help others. When Joplin, Missouri was devastated by a tornado, he helped provide water for the community. He also helps people within his job.

A blind man, Cameron Black, one of many affected by Mitch Holthus and his ability to speak a portrait, learned to love football because of Holthus. As shown in a video from The Kansas City Star, Holthus has made a huge impact in the man’s life because Black’s daughter, who has the same disease, also listens to the Chiefs’ games.

After seeing the video for the first time, Holthus said, “It stopped me in my tracks. If I mean everything to Cameron, if I can paint a picture verbally to someone who can’t see, I am helping someone by being different.”

Holthus also mentioned and introduced three HutchCC students in the crowd – Tyler Pauley from Garden Plain, Jeff Brandon from Hutchinson, and Ashton Hawkins from Smith Center, who all have done extraordinary things at this college, and work hard in and outside of school.

At the press conference before the event, Holthus answered questions regarding his career as a well-known sports announcer. One question that was asked pertained to a possible downfall in NFL fans in the last few years. He answered that it was a good question and that it “seems” to be a decline to some, but said that people don’t see everything with the NFL, only what is covered by reporters.

He pointed out the national anthem protests becoming a popular look on the league, but also explained that people don’t see the “behind-the scenes” action of players. Some, like Alex Smith, do remarkable things outside of the Chiefs. Smith helps foster kids earn college scholarships and donates to their organization.

Because he witnesses generous acts with the Chiefs and throughout Kansas, Mitch Holthus has a soft spot for the people and the state itself.

“I love this state, I made three career moves, yet still remained here in Kansas,” Holthus said.

He said how honored he was to speak at the Sports Arena and to share his experiences. Being from Smith Center has taught him how to be the man he is today and he seeks to find others who are different with success.

“To take the game beyond the game, it then becomes a celebration for anyone,” Holthus said.

One question that stood out to him was asked by a high school student from Inman. She asked about his love for announcing and how he became who he is today.

“Who you are and how you were raised makes you original,” Holthus said. “We all come from different home lives, but work ethic is a huge part of making an impression too.”

He stated several times that to be a good journalist, work ethic is important, but being a journalist also comes with great sacrifices. He has had to manage a family alongside his career, and although he loves what he does, Holthus expressed regrets for the moments he has missed, such as his daughter Hayley’s championship game. Brian, his son, had always dreamed of running on the Sports Arena court like his sister had. That never happened because his team never got to state.

During the lecture, Holthus presented a slideshow of the steps of differences that lead to success. Throughout his speech, he used a metaphor of floodwaters, such as the Arkansas River, or Gulf of Mexico flooding lives and trying to slow people down from reaching their ultimate goals. He explained “Empathetic Equity” – Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

The example he used for this was one of his favorite Chiefs, Derrick Johnson, who has funded about 15 reading dens in Kansas City and does things without expecting a reward, only from the kindness of his heart. In the summer last year, Johnson spent a lot of time practicing football with a younger player who hadn’t even made it through tryouts. Holthus noticed this and thought it was generous and showed him the kind of man Johnson is aside from football.

There were many more examples and topics. One of the last differences, “Being Different by Standing Firm”, was to show that people have to work for their success and shouldn’t run from their responsibilities.

“My job is to stand the post when it’s good or bad,” Holthus said. “Many times it isn’t easy, but you still stand the post like a marine in front of the embassy.”

Finishing with the last difference where Holthus discovered his relative, who was a poor European man that moved to Nebraska and joined the Union in the Civil War. He stood shoulder to shoulder with the black men in the blue uniforms. It was a major step in the American culture, and Holthus said he was proud to be related to the man that didn’t look down upon the African American men fighting by his side.

This thought led to his final statement that we will all leave marks on the world, but “what footprints will we leave?”

 

Olympian, Shawn Johnson, visits Hutch for Dillon Lecture Series

Friday, November 10th, 2017

By Brenna Eller
Opinion Page Editor

From Scooby-Doo shorts and baggy t-shirts to a US leotard, Shawn Johnson East overcame her shyness and bullies at the age of 12 when she was handpicked to go to a 2004 international gymnastics event in Belgium. In 2008, at 16-years old she made her way to the Beijing Olympics. She was an Olympic gold medalist, “Dancing With the Stars” winner, and is now a YouTube sensation.

On Tuesday, Johnson was the speaker at the Dillon Lecture Series located in the Hutchinson Sports Arena.

Johnson has had several accomplishments in her life, the most well-known accomplishment being the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing. She won the silver in the all-around competition and earned a gold medal for the balance beam.

Growing up, Johnson had a fairly normal childhood. She is from Des Moines, Iowa and like many kids, she just wanted to fit in. At the beginning of her speech, Johnson gave examples of bullies and challenges she faced growing up, including – girls not wanting her to join the “cool” group, wearing her favorite Scooby-Doo shorts and T-shirt, and having the first name “Shawn”.

Before her lecture, Johnson was asked about speaking in the Midwest rather than in a big city/state. She said, “I feel so much more relaxed and at home here, I love to speak in the Midwest.”

Another question asked was, “What advice would you like to leave high school and college students today?” She said, “This society makes it hard to have a passion in something without people assuming you will stick with that your whole life.”

She also explained how one might love to play the violin, but that doesn’t mean they have to become a musician.

She was also asked about President Trump, since she was on “Celebrity Apprentice”, her response was, “Aside from the politics, the man and family I met were very nice.”

In her speech, Johnson told about her experience at Beijing when she was representing the United States as the captain of her team for the first time as a 16-year old. She was signed by eight different companies for endorsements. She felt like everyone was expecting her to bring home gold medals. She ended up getting second in the All-Around and first 1st place in beam.

Nastia Liukin, who was also representing the US, and close friend of Shawn’s beat her in the All-Around.
“My heart absolutely shattered,” Johnson said.

She devoted her entire life to this moment and she didn’t get her gold medal. She got silver, and when approached by reporters, she assumed they would give congratulations, but instead was asked, “How does it feel to lose?”

At that point, Johnson had already felt angry so she snapped back with, “I didn’t lose, I won a silver medal for my country.”

When she won the gold for the beam, she thought she didn’t do her best.

“I didn’t deserve it,” she said.

She felt like the all-around was much better because she wanted it more. Her coach agreed with her and said, “Better next time.”

Another accomplishment Johnson is known for is winning the eighth season of “Dancing With the Stars” as a 17-year old in 2009. She shared that she wasn’t comfortable with the outfits at first and dancing with someone she didn’t know. Eventually she overcame her fears and ended up winning the competition.

Recently, Johnson was introduced to charity work. There is an organization called Hope Sports that provides athletes who have retired or quit an opportunity to help the less fortunate. Shawn went with a group of athletes to Tijuana, Mexico. They have built over 4,000 houses for people in need. She found the experience very rewarding and even met her husband through that organization. She also coaches, mentors, and raises money for other charities.

Her speech ended with some advice to high school and college students. She said, “Society puts so much pressure on us anymore.” She led into a rant about how people expect too much of young kids nowadays and how kids should just do what they love and not worry about making a career of it. They can love to draw, but that doesn’t mean they have to become an artist. Johnson also left students with the idea that sharing her life on social media is like “living in a fishbowl.” She also said to be smart on social media, because anyone can see what you post.

Johnson’s latest adventure has been documenting her life on YouTube. Recently she has shared her experience of finding out she was pregnant and her reactions to the doctor breaking the news that she was miscarrying. Although, saddening to Johnson and her husband, she wanted mothers in her position to know she understood and that they aren’t alone.

Next Dillon Lecture Series speaker is an Olympic gold medalist

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

By Brenna Eller
Opinion Page Editor

On Tuesday, Olympic gold medalist, Shawn Johnson East will be speaking on behalf of the Dillon Lecture Series at the Hutchinson Sports Arena.

According to the Administrative Assistant to the President and Dillon Lecture Series Coordinator, Robin Woodworth, the lecture begins at 10:30 a.m. and the doors will open at 9:45. HutchCC students are admitted for free with a student I.D.

Shawn Johnson, 25, is a four-time Olympic medalist and was the “Dancing with the Stars” winner in 2009.

She has gone through many hurdles in her life and hasn’t always gotten what she wanted. In Beijing, she lost the dream she had worked for several years, finishing second place in the all-around Olympics. On the other hand, she did win the individual gold medal for the balance beam.

Later on, Shawn went through a painful knee injury due to a skiing accident and had to rethink her life and choices.

Keppler Speakers, a privately held speakers bureau, stated that she ended up retiring from gymnastics, and in 2012 published a book “Winning Balance”. In 2014, Shawn appeared on the hit show Celebrity Apprentice.

She is majorly involved in cancer and animal charities.

Keppler also said, “Celebrity speaker Shawn Johnson truly loves big and lives big.”

The lecture is expected to be mainly about faith and motivation, and Shawn Johnson has so many experiences to share.

Dillon speaker: Soap is good

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

By Angela Ling

Kayongo

Kayongo

The U.S. throws away 800 million bars of soap every year.
“That’s 2.6 million bars every day,” said Derrek Kayongo, in his Oct. 6 Dillion Lecture.
Kayongo, now a U.S. citizen, is originally from Uganda and is a survivor of a civil war and refugee camps.
He grew up in a modern and very successful African family, but civil war wrecked his parents’ success and drove them to Kenya, seeking refuge from the dangers in Uganda.
Kayongo saw first-hand, many men, women, and children die of infections and diseases that could have been prevented if they only had soap to wash their hands with.  He saw the need for soap in the poor African villages, but it wasn’t until many years later that he could help.
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Dillon Lecture

Sunday, September 27th, 2015


Derreck
Kayongo

Title: Founder of Global Soap Project

Lecture date: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6

Where: Hutchinson Sports Arena

Derrick Kayongo, founder of the Global Soap Project, will be speaking as a part of the Dillon Lecture Series on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the Sports Arena.

The Global Soap project is a non-profit organization whose goal is to provide soap to people who don’t have access to it.
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Dillon speaker recalls his quest in Europe to research art saviors

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

By Lariena Nokes

Edsel

Edsel

In his Feb. 1 Dillon Lecture, Robert Edsel presented an informative speech about rescuing, preserving and returning the great art of the world to its rightful owners.

Edsel told story of the original “monuments men” of World War II, then followed up with information about soldiers currently serving as monuments officers in the American military.

“Is art worth dying for?” Edsel asked.

This thought-provoking question was the focal point of the author’s presentation.

When the timeless value of art is compared to human lives during a war, some chose to risk their lives to save the art.
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