David Giffels Presents the Eckler Lecture at Mount Union

February 01, 2010

Author and journalist David Giffels presented the Eckler Lecture at Mount Union College on Wednesday, January 27 in Presser Recital Hall.

“Bringing together his writing world on his intellectual side and the hands-on aspect of construction, Giffels represents the well-rounded type of person that Mount Union admires,” said Greg Stephan, a senior English: writing major of Pickerington who introduced Giffels.

He began his lecture explaining events that led to he and his wife’s decision to buy their house, the foundation of his latest book, All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling-down House, winner of the Ohioana Book Award in 2009.

“We were at the point where we could choose to see things one of two ways,” said Giffels.“We asked ourselves: Are we no longer adventurous enough for this project, or do we have one more adventure left in our young lives?”

They decided to take on the adventure, learning along the way that things can never be expected to go exactly as planned.

“It was a test of what it means to live with a decision that may not have been completely rational, but was somewhat romantic, and it turns on you, and you still have to live with that decision,” explained Giffels.

In order to give the audience a taste of their adventure in the house, he read an amusing chapter in his book about his struggle with and strategy to get rid of a raccoon in the attic.

Switching the focus to his days as a journalist, he explained the power of journalism in attaching writers to people and their stories.

“Journalism engages you with the world in a different and particular way,” said Giffels. “It allows you to tell the stories of people that otherwise may never have been told.”

Giffels, a longtime Akron Beacon Journal columnist, is a creative writing professor at the University of Akron. He is also the co-author of Are We Not Men? We Are Devo! and Wheels of Fortune: The Story of Rubber in Akron. He was honored as Best News Writer in Ohio by the Associate Press, has been nominated six times for the Pulitzer Prize and has received dozens of other awards.

The Eckler Lecture in Literature and Drama was established in 1981 through an endowment given by Mr. John A. and Mrs. Dorothy (Nelson '29) Cummins in appreciation of the many years of service to the community and Mount Union College by the Ecklers. Dr. Eric A. and Mrs. Mary Eckler were long-time faculty members in the Department of Education at Mount Union.


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