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Saturday November 26th

Byrns to give speech tonight

“Last Lecture” will offer advice

	<p>Ralph Byrns, economics professor, will give his “last lecture” today.</p>
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Ralph Byrns, economics professor, will give his “last lecture” today.

Ralph Byrns became an instant hit when he arrived at UNC’s economics department a decade ago.

The beloved professor, who is popularly known for his annual “The Economics of Finding True Love” lecture, is currently teaching his last semester at the University, as he plans to move to Arizona in June to live closer to family as his wife combats illness.

After being selected as this year’s Carolina Chiron Award recipient, Byrns was tapped to impart his wisdom through the “Last Lecture” at 6:30 p.m. today in Gerrard Hall.

DTH: What do you plan to tell students in the “Last Lecture”?

Ralph Byrns: Well, I plan on talking about a whole bunch of things. First, I will talk about how lucky we are, particularly here at UNC. I’m going to talk about how we confuse form and function—and how it takes a combination of both to live a life of substance. I’m going to talk about being honest and working hard, but also about how people who are blessed need to make the world better for those who are less blessed.

DTH: I know that your “Economics of Finding True Love” lecture earlier this year was filled with students who dreaded your departure. How will this lecture be different as a goodbye?

RB: My “Economics of Finding True Love” lecture is about making yourself lovable. A relationship is only one part of a good life. There will definitely be some overlap, but this lecture will be different as a goodbye because it will summarize my advice about life, not just love.

DTH: Throughout your time at the University, what has been your craziest experience?

RB: Well, in class one day we were working on an Aplia experiment, and a student typed, “After Byrns visited the Virgin Islands, there were no virgins left,” in the chat box. I said to the class, “Who just typed that?” and the student raised his hand. I then asked, “Do you have any naked pictures of your mother?” The student responded that he did not. I then asked, “Do you want to buy some?” I thought that I was going to be fired that day. It was probably the craziest thing that I have done since I’ve been here.

DTH: Of all the memories that you have had at UNC, what have been your best and worst experiences?

RB: One of the best in general was when students have come to talk to me about a tragedy going on in their lives. Later they would come back and tell me how much it meant to them, and that has been my best experience not only at UNC, but also in life. My worst memory — well, I could probably say something about the basketball team losing to Duke, but in reality it was when Eve Carson died. Eve had a knack for making you feel like you were her friend and what you had to say was important, and she is greatly missed.

DTH: Who was your favorite student?

RB: I have so many favorite students. I can’t pick any out particular, but Morgan Edwards — she’s my favorite for the week. There are just so many others that I love.

DTH: Is there anything that you would like to say to your students as a last goodbye?

RB: Being a part of UNC has been the best part of my life, and I’m going to miss it.

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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