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'Eat Pray Love' author to speak at Victoria College Lyceum

By From News Release
July 17, 2010 at 2:17 a.m.

Hector Cantu. Co-creator of the comic strip "Baldo"

If you go

The free Lyceum lectures will be in the Victoria College Fine Arts Auditorium and are open to the public.

The Victoria College Lyceum Lecture Series for the upcoming academic year will feature three popular, successful writers and a motivational speaker.

"The Lyceum committee put a great deal of care and research into selecting guest speakers for the upcoming series who are well-known and popular and whose topics will address some of the most relevant and contemporary themes in today's society," said Lyceum committee chairman Dave Ticen.

The series begins at noon Oct. 7 with writer/cartoonist Hector Cantu, co-creator of the comic strip "Baldo," which is syndicated in newspapers nationwide.

Baldo is a Hispanic teenager who lives, loves and learns amongst his colorful Hispanic family, including younger sister Gracie, father Sergio and the irrepressible Tia Carmen. Cantu and his business partner, Carlos Castellanos, created "Baldo" to give a voice to the Latino culture using a medium that does not commonly feature diverse role models.

By harnessing the power of stereotypes, Cantu's "Baldo" is a gentle and humorous examination of the many ways Hispanic culture is unique while also demonstrating that Baldo's experiences are universally recognizable to any American teen.

Cantu will talk about embracing stereotypes and celebrating Hispanic culture in this country and in particular, Hispanic youth.

Writer/journalist Pete Earley is scheduled to speak at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 16. While working as a journalist at The Washington Post in the early 1980s, Earley struggled to help his son deal with debilitating mental illness. Published in 2006, his book, "Crazy: A Father's Search through America's Mental Health Madness," details the obstacles he had to overcome in seeking the appropriate treatment for his son.

Along the way, Earley discovered that tens of thousands of those incarcerated in this nation's prisons have a documented mental illness. He'll share what he learned about the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness along with the importance of decriminalizing and overcoming the stigma of mental illness. VC has partnered with the Gulf Bend Mental Health and Mental Retardation Center to bring Earley to Victoria in an effort help raise awareness of mental health issues in the community.

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert is scheduled to speak on Wednesday, March 30 at noon. Gilbert's intimate memoir, "Eat, Pray, Love," has recently been adapted into a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts. The movie is scheduled to be released on Aug. 13.

Gilbert's memoir chronicles her journey to overcome the crushing loneliness and depression she experienced in the aftermath of a lengthy and contentious divorce. Throughout her travels to Italy, India and Indonesia, she managed to rediscover the simple pleasures in life, connect with her own spiritual source of hope and balance and, finally, find love again.

She'll share the secrets of her successful career as a writer and the important elements she discovered are important in the process toward self-discovery.

VC is partnering with the Victoria Public Library's Victoria Reads program, which encourages the entire community to read together and engage in useful dialog regarding the themes presented in the book.

More joint events related to Gilbert's visit will be announced early next year.

Jim Morris, scheduled to speak on Thursday, April 28 at 9 a.m., is best known as the inspiration for the Disney movie "The Rookie" starring Dennis Quaid. Morris always dreamed of becoming a Major League Baseball player, but after several unsuccessful tries and a number of injuries while playing in the minor leagues, he found contentment with his suburban family, while coaching high school baseball.

In the late 1990s he promised his team that if they won the district championship, he would try out for a Major League Baseball team. After his team won, he kept his end of the bargain by throwing 12 consecutive 98-mph fastballs during his tryout. As a result, he was offered a contract as a relief pitcher for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the age of 35.

Even though he played with the Devil Rays for less than a year, Morris did something many people only hope for: He achieved a life-long dream.

He will share his inspirational story of overcoming failure and how perseverance and heart can help anyone achieve their dreams.

"The Lyceum committee has done an exemplary job of selecting speakers for the upcoming series that will be relevant and engaging to both VC's students and the community," said VC President Tom Butler. "I'm very proud that VC will be hosting such popular and appealing guests that will continue to provide the level of outstanding intellectual and cultural enrichment that the community has come to expect over the years."

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