UM Professor to Present on Olympic Coaching, Mountaineering and More at Last Lecture

February 16, 2016

MISSOULA – Steven Gaskill, University of Montana health and human performance professor, will offer insight into his unique life experiences during the annual Last Lecture, which is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, in UM’s University Center Theater. The event, hosted by the Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society, is free and open to the public.

Gaskill’s lecture, “Lessons Learned from Olympic Coaching, University Teaching, Mountaineering and the Simple Joys of Living,” will draw from his own adventures and he will advise students on how to learn, take risks, open doors and define success. This year, Gaskill will answer the question: “What wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?”

Gaskill has taught 20 different courses from medical physiology to coaching. In addition to teaching both high school and college students, he also has served as an Olympic coach, directed the coaches’ education program for the U.S. Olympic Committee and completed first ascent routes on major peaks in Alaska, Colorado and Canada. 

“The stories that I will tell are about finding joy from any adventure,” Gaskill said.  

Gaskill will retire this year after teaching at UM for 16 years.

“After UM retirement, I will walk through the next door that looks exciting and keep going,” Gaskill said.

The Last Lecture series began at UM two decades ago, but was discontinued over time. In 2010 Mortar Board reinstated the Last Lecture series and has hosted the event annually since. Mortar Board members nominate and vote on a professor who has made a lasting impression through an undergraduate program to give the lecture.

The Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society, originally established as an all-female secret honor society, is a student group promoting scholarship, leadership and service.

To learn more about the Mortar Board Society, visit either the national website at or the UM website at

Contact: Chelsey Porter, UM Mortar Board adviser, 406-243-2831,