AAOS Bulletin - December 2006

Mitch Albom steps up to the plate at Annual Meeting

Keynote speaker brings unique perspective to life—and afterlife

By Peter Pollack

“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.

At the AAOS 2007 Annual Meeting this year, 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. Albom will be the guest speaker on Thursday, Feb. 15, in Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center.

Mitch Albom

Albom got his big break as a sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press—a job he continues to perform, despite the demands placed upon him as a radio host, public speaker and guest writer in such publications as Sports Illustrated, GQ and The New York Times. His “other” day job is as a host on Detroit radio station WJR 760 AM, where he has a two-hour daily show featuring news, commentary, and interviews.

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. 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 at 9 a.m. on Feb. 15, you can expect to hear a wealth of anecdotes and a unique perspective. Be sure you’re in Ballroom 20 of the San Diego Convention Center to hear him.

More information about Mitch Albom’s radio show, writing and charity work can be found online.


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