Many alumni, faculty and staff were in the Standard Process Assembly Hall on Thursday, Dec., 6, when Jim Hawkins gave his last lecture as a Life Chiropractic College West teacher.
“It means a lot to me to share some of my perspectives,” he told the class of about 100 students. They were joined by dozens of others connected with the campus in some way, all there to witness the end of an era as Dr. Hawkins spoke during his final class after 40 years of teaching at the campus.
The mood was thoughtful and contemplative. Dr. Hawkins at times said things that made his audience chuckle or even laugh out loud, but it was not always entirely clear that he meant to make them laugh at that moment. He did mean to leave bits of wisdom in his parting words, however, and his attentive audience soaked it up.
He began by showing a picture of his first class in January 1979. Many of those first students have gone on to prestigious careers, but their influence on him is what kept Dr. Hawkins at Life West beyond that first quarter.
Dr. Hawkins said he had agreed reluctantly to teach them, then he met that first class and everything changed. “I saw a group of people with great passion.” It was a tough time in chiropractic — the profession did not get a lot of respect, he said. But these new students had a passion and really wanted to know what he could teach. “I found my nirvana teaching them centro-neural anatomy,” he said.
He also offered up a series of takeaways that fit with chiropractic philosophy for his students, all centered around the choices we can make to enhance our health, or state of well-being.
“You can have few more important things in your process here than developing what health means to you,” Dr. Hawkins said. To him, the most important things on that list are:
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“The secret sauce is that we all share this passion for making a brighter future for humanity by sharing the chiropractic message and creating a new landscape of health,” Dr. Hawkins told his audience.
“Your challenge is to be able to create community where ever you choose to be.”
He also talked about finding one’s purpose in life. “Each of you represents my reason for being, because I am a powerful, sensitive teacher,” he said to an incredibly quiet room. “What I am in my essence is a teacher. That’s where I experience all the parts of me coming together in a focused way.”
“I’m that pebble dropped into the pool who watches the ripples go out. Every day of my life, this is my assertion — I empower others. My intent is to always hold you in terms of the infinite possibilities for what you might be.”
“It’s a privilege and an honor to serve you.”
One last note that Dr. Hawkins gave to his students was a card with the phrase, “I am _________.” It was up to the student to fill in the rest.
Lastly, Dr. Hawkins brought his wife, Kathleen Hawkins, and introduced her in front of the class. He thanked her for supporting him throughout his tenure at Life West. Kathleen had also worked as an employee of Life West for about seven years, helping to recruit students to the college.