It was a pleasure to serve as Greg Mortenson's driver for his quicktrip from his hotel up to the campus. That little bit of drive-time got me a promotion to Doctor and a mention in his opening thank yous as he began his speech on August 28 to a packed Laurie Auditorium. Too bad, since the most work I had done on this program was read the book.
A great big thank you goes to Felicia Lee, VP for Student Affairs, who with the support of Michael Fischer in Academic Affairs, brought Mr. Mortenson to campus. Ben NewStudentOrientationhouse originated the theme of Reading TUgether and did all of the leg work to pull off this outstanding program. He deserved the recognition I got, which is a bit embarrassing. The picture is of Ben Newhouse on the left, Felicia Lee, and Greg Mortenson at the President's reception prior to the talk.
Greg Mortenson is not a classically polished speaker. He is the best kind of speaker to listen to. His message last night flowed from the heart. He is humble, sincere, gentle, funny, honest, and sweet. He gets a kick out of people, and even himself just a little. I have never seen a speaker peak out from behind the curtain before a talk to give the AV people a thumbs up to start. He is devoted to his cause - education for the impoverished and oppressed - as well as his family. He is apolitical though his social message is clear.
Mr. Mortenson made the new students feel welcome by asking them to stand for an ovation. He also warmed up the crowd of about 2,000 with his power point title of "Miracles on the football field and across the world."
This program is really a tribute to the vision of global citizenship that Dr. Lee has stamped on her one year tenure as Vice President. It marks an excellent re-tooling of the summer reading program, which extended to the entire campus community rather than just the first year students.
Mr. Mortenson signed books long into the night. Mine? He simply wrote "to the best driver I ever had!", which is all I ever was.
See the video of Mr. Mortenson's lecture!