Giving is Living
In October, Springfield College hosted New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, columnist, and sports reporter Mitch Albom as part of its Arts and Humanities Speaker Series. This series, made possible through the vision and generosity of Carlton ’63 and Lucy Sedgeley, brings accomplished speakers that engage the College and greater Springfield communities to the campus. Albom captivated the 1,200 attendees through storytelling and song, both humorous and serious; all of it thought provoking.
Albom traveled to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that leveled its landscape. Inspired by the need there, he committed himself to rebuilding the country, helping orphaned children, and running the “Have Faith Haiti Mission.” In October, Albom arrived on the campus prepared to present his lecture, “Unexpected Grace,” about that work. During the pre-lecture reception at the home of President Mary-Beth Cooper, Albom learned about the Humanics philosophy and, shortly before he was due on stage, rewrote his lecture for the evening.
Inspired by the concept of Humanics, Albom shared stories about the phases of his life that influenced him to lead a “life looking outward,” in particular those lessons learned from Morrie Schwartz, Albom’s professor at Brandeis University, with whom Albom reconnected while Schwartz was battling ALS disease. Albom recounted his time with Schwartz in his breakthrough book Tuesdays with Morrie, now celebrating its 20th anniversary. Albom drew a strong connection of the life lesson that Schwartz shared—that “giving is living”—to the College mission. Schwartz’s mantra was that it is in giving of yourself to others that you truly experience living. Connecting it directly to the Humanics philosophy of leadership in service to others, Albom was thrilled to learn of the Springfield College commitment to community service and service professions.n
Following his talk, Cooper presented Albom with a stuffed puppy created and tagged with a personal note written by a student, with the promise that one would be sent to each child at his orphanage. Albom, invited Cooper to visit the orphanage with students and personally deliver the stuffed animals as part of an alternative spring break trip. “This is the most meaningful gift ever given to me at the end of a lecture,” Albom stated. “My children will absolutely love and cherish these, and I hope your students will visit and get to know these orphans in March.”
“We remain grateful to Carlton and Lucy for their vision for this event and for bringing diverse and inspirational national figures to campus,” said Cooper. This is the fourth annual event in this lecture series.