Arts and Entertainment Editor
As a part of the Quality Enhancement Plan’s effort to “create a culture of engaged reading,” Francis Slakey, the author of “To the Last Breath,” will be visiting campus Feb. 25-26.
“To the Last Breath” was selected as the 2013-2014 Common Reading Initiative for Troy University. The Common Reading Initiative asks first-year students to read a common book, which is then incorporated into the freshman curriculum and made the centerpiece of on-campus events.
This is the second time the QEP has brought an author of a Common Reading Initiative selection to campus. Janisse Ray, the author of “Ecology of a Cracker Childhood,” visited campus during the 2009-2010 year.
The QEP believes that getting to meet with the author of the Common Reading Initiative selections brings the abstractions of a book to life.
“Getting to meet the person and hearing what he says makes the book seem real,” said Elaine Bassett, the Writing Center coordinator and member of the QEP. “Students can connect to it and bring the pages to life.”
Mentally materializing Slakey and his achievements is no easy task either. Slakey’s memoir, “To the Last Breath,” recounts his sprawling adventure to become the first individual in history to climb the highest peak on each continent and surf in every ocean.
Slakey was the 28th American to summit Mt. Everest, and his unguided expedition is the subject of a movie, “Beyond the Summit.”
He also carried the Olympic torch in the 2002 Olympic Games as recognition for his adventures.
As the Upjohn Lecturer on Physics and Public Policy at Georgetown University, Slakey specializes in energy and security policy. His publications have received more than 500 citations, and he has published more than 50 articles.
Slakey also specializes in a field known as Science in the Public Interest.
This field is intended to teach students to think outside the text book in scientific fields.
This SPI program has students break into groups and identify a problem that can be solved with a politcal-science-based solution.
Through contact with congress and the development of real world, applied solutions, the SPI students have had their ideas signed into federal law three separate times.
Slakey’s visit on Feb. 25 will be with a select group of physics students on campus.
On Feb. 26 Slakey will attend a coffee at 9 a.m. in Eldridge Hall room 124. He will be meeting and mingling with students and faculty until 10 a.m. Afterward, Slakey will be meeting with Chancellor Jack Hawkins and Hal Fulmer, associate provost and dean of first-year studies.
At 11 a.m. Slakey will deliver a lecture open to the public in the Trojan Center Theatre.
“The lecture is about the book and about him,” Bassett said. “It’s about what he’s learned and how he’s changed from the experience – it’s about his view of life.”
The Barnes & Noble university bookstore will host a book signing on Feb. 26 at 4 p.m.
University orientation students will get a passport for the Feb. 26 lecture at 11 a.m.