Mitch Albom steps up to the plate at Annual Meeting
By Peter Pollack
Keynote speaker brings unique perspective to life—and afterlife
“Death ends a life, not a relationship,” according to sociologist Morrie Schwartz. It’s one of the last lessons he taught his student Mitch Albom.
Tomorrow, at 9 a.m. in Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center, you’ll have a chance to hear about these and other life lessons from Albom, the best-selling author of Tuesdays with Morrie and a veteran sportswriter, columnist and syndicated radio host.
A bestselling author
Albom may have gained a regional following with his coverage of local favorites for the Detroit Free Press, but he was catapulted to national fame on the wings of his bestselling 1997 book Tuesdays with Morrie.
Tuesdays with Morrie touchingly relates the final series of conversations Albom had with his old professor, Morrie Schwartz. Schwartz, who held a doctoral degree in sociology, had been something of a mentor to the young Albom during his time at Brandeis University. Although the two lost touch after Albom graduated, they were reunited in the months preceding Schwartz’s death from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The book is presented by Album as the final “course” ever taught by Schwartz—a course on the meaning of life, with only one student.
Albom returned to national attention with the 2003 release of his first novel, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, which tells the story of Eddie, an aging amusement park worker who dies saving a child’s life.
In 2006, Albom published his second novel, For One More Day. This book follows a man on the verge of suicide as he returns to his boyhood home, only to find his deceased mother waiting for him as if no time had passed. Over the course of their single, final day together, the man gathers up the pieces of his life and finds new perspective about his family and himself.
A driving force for charity
In addition to his media work, the Philadelphia-raised Albom has founded two charity organizations in his adopted home town of Detroit. The Dream Fund provides arts scholarships to underprivileged kids, and A Time to Help organizes monthly volunteer rallies for a variety of activities such as staffing homeless shelters, building Habitat for Humanity homes and raising money for school supplies. He has also been involved with S.A.Y. (Super All Year) Detroit, which raises money for local homeless shelters and helped kick off the “One Homeless Night” program, which encourages local folks to spend a night in a homeless shelter in order to promote a better understanding of the lives of the homeless.
Albom has 12 times been named the nation’s #1 sports columnist by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has received more than 100 writing awards from organizations such as the Associated Press, the National Sportswriters and Broadcasters Associations and the Headliners Club.
Albom’s background ranges from amateur boxing to nightclub singing, from warming up audiences for comedian Gabe Kaplan to earning master’s degrees in journalism and business administration from Columbia University. When he steps up to the podium, you can expect to hear a wealth of anecdotes and a unique perspective. Be sure you’re in Ballroom 20 tomorrow at 9 a.m. to hear him.
More information about Mitch Albom’s radio show, writing, and charity work can be found at www.mitchalbom.com.