Jan. 11, 2011 – The University of Utah Board of Trustees announced today that Mitch Albom, celebrated author of “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” will deliver the university’s general commencement address on Friday, May 6, 2011.
Albom is widely known for penning “Tuesdays with Morrie,” which has become the best-selling memoir of all time and has sold over 11 million copies worldwide. It has been made into a television movie, and Albom helped adapt it into a popular off-Broadway play. Albom also debuted on the New York Times bestseller list with his first novel, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” He has written nine books.
“We are delighted that Mitch Albom will provide the commencement address this year,” said University of Utah President Michael K. Young. “His memoir highlights the essence of one of the most profound relationships that we have as adults: that of professor and student. We are very pleased that he will speak to the university’s graduates, who will be entering the world with the wisdom and counsel of our extraordinary faculty still reverberating in their minds and hearts.”
Born in Philadelphia, Albom currently resides in Michigan. He received his bachelor’s degree in sociology at Brandeis University and earned master’s degrees in journalism and business administration from Columbia University in New York City.
In addition to publishing books and appearing for speaking engagements, Albom provides regular commentary on ESPN television and radio. A Detroit Free Press columnist, he was named best sports columnist in the nation a record 13 times by the Associated Press Sports Editors. At an APSE awards ceremony in July 2010, when Albom received the prestigious Red Smith Award, Detroit Free Press sports editor Gene Myers spoke of Albom’s dedication to the craft: “Why has Mitch won all these awards and sold all those books? He bleeds every word. Every time.”
A “Renaissance man” of the first order, Albom has worked as a stand-up comic, amateur boxer and nightclub pianist. He also is an accomplished songwriter and lyricist, writing for rock greats Warren Zevon and David Crosby, as well as writing the 1992 song “Cookin’ for Two” for a television movie, “Christmas in Connecticut,” directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In 1989, Albom founded The Dream Fund, which helps disadvantaged children get involved with the arts. He has founded two other charities in the Detroit metropolitan area: A Time to Help, founded in 1998, and Super All Year (S.A.Y.) Detroit in 2006. A Time to Help focuses on various projects in Detroit by gathering volunteers on a monthly basis for such works as staffing shelters, building homes with Habitat for Humanity and delivering food to the elderly. S.A.Y. Detroit aids the homeless. Albom was named the 1999 National Hospice Organization’s Man of the Year and currently serves on the boards of many charities.