<h4><em>Annual event honors Stanford professor who extolled the meaningful life<\/em><\/h4>\r\n[caption id="attachment_3623" align="alignleft" width="253"]<img class="wp-image-3623 size-full" src="http:\/\/s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com\/stanford125\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/12\/harry0.jpg" alt="Law Professor Harry Rathbun and his wife, Emelia." width="253" height="450" \/> Law Professor Harry Rathbun and his wife, Emelia.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nHarry Rathbun, \u201916, Eng. \u201920, JD \u201929, taught business law at Stanford. Yet his true subject was the cultivation of human potential.\r\n\r\nStudents and others flocked to his\u00a0Palo Alto home for his Sunday-night seminars to plumb humanity\u2019s mission. His final class lecture of each Stanford term was famous for asking the questions, <em>\u201cWho are we? Where are we going?\u201d<\/em>\r\n\r\nSince 2008, Stanford\u2019s <a href="https:\/\/rathbun.stanford.edu\/rathbun-lecture-meaningful-life" target="_blank">Rathbun Lecture on a Meaningful Life<\/a>, formerly known as \u201cHarry\u2019s Last Lecture,\u201d has challenged new generations of Stanford students with those questions. The event is a program of Stanford\u2019s Office of Religious Life.\r\n<blockquote><em>\u00a0<\/em><em>I had to tell those kids that the meaning of life was up to them, that no teacher and no school and nobody else could hand it to them like a diploma.<\/em>\r\n\r\n<em>--Harry Rathbun<\/em><\/blockquote>\r\nDistinguished Rathbun Visiting Fellows extol the moral dimension of learning through the annual lecture and other engagement with the Stanford community. They share their reflections on life\u2019s purpose. They perpetuate the goals of Stanford University\u2019s founders by urging students to use their educations for good.\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_3622" align="alignright" width="240"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-3622" src="http:\/\/s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com\/stanford125\/wp-content\/uploads\/2016\/12\/ginsburg-555x694-240x300.jpg" alt="Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will deliver the 2017 lecture Feb. 6 in Stanford Memorial Church." width="240" height="300" \/> Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will deliver the 2017 lecture Feb. 6 in Stanford Memorial Church.[\/caption]\r\n\r\nThe next Rathbun Visiting Fellow is <a href="http:\/\/news.stanford.edu\/2016\/11\/03\/ruth-bader-ginsburg-deliver-stanford-lecture-meaningful-life\/" target="_blank">U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg<\/a>, who will speak to the Stanford community Feb. 6, 2017 in Memorial Church.\r\n\r\nSandra Day [O\u2019Connor], 50, LLB \u201952, later the first female U.S. Supreme Court justice, <a href="https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=5U1EwrT8W9w" target="_blank">gave the inaugural Rathbun Lecture<\/a> in 2008. <a href="http:\/\/125.stanford.edu\/the-law-school-class-of-1952\/" target="_blank">As a student<\/a>, O\u2019Connor had been profoundly influenced by Rathbun\u2019s words.\r\n\r\nUpon receiving her law degree at a time when female lawyers were few, O\u2019Connor could not get a job in a private firm except as a secretary. But she remembered Rathbun\u2019s teaching as she tailored her job search to the public sector. She became a deputy county attorney and from there moved to a judgeship and eventually to her pioneering role on the high court.\r\n<blockquote><em>[Rathbun] was the first person ever to speak in my presence of how an individual\u00a0could make a difference; how a single caring person can effectively help determine\u00a0the course of events.\u00a0<\/em><em>I had not heard that before, really, and he put it forward in such a persuasive way\u00a0that I think most of us came to believe it might be true, and to take seriously the\u00a0notion that we could make a difference.<\/em>\r\n\r\n<em>-- Sandra Day O\u2019Connor,\u00a0<\/em><a href="https:\/\/alumni.stanford.edu\/get\/page\/magazine\/article\/?article_id=33331" target="_blank"><em>speaking in 2003<\/em><\/a><\/blockquote>\r\nOther Rathbun Fellows have included Oprah Winfrey, <a href="https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=GR_7X0exvh8" target="_blank">who gave the lecture in 2015<\/a>; <em>Doonesbury<\/em> author Garry Trudeau, who spoke in 2014; and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, <a href="https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=aASpioHVtzs&list=SP3A1585C4EDE6E82D&index=2" target="_blank">who spoke in 2010<\/a>.\r\n\r\n<a href="https:\/\/rathbun.stanford.edu\/rathbun-fund-exploring-what-leads-meaningful-life" target="_blank">Learn more<\/a> about Harry Rathbun and his enduring impact on Stanford and beyond.\r\n\r\n<a href="https:\/\/rathbun.stanford.edu\/past-visiting-fellows" target="_blank">Watch past lectures<\/a> on video.\r\n\r\nBrowse other programs of <a href="http:\/\/web.stanford.edu\/group\/religiouslife\/cgi-bin\/wordpress\/" target="_blank">Stanford\u2019s Office of Religious Life<\/a>.