Helen Keller Lecture Series | Troy University

Helen Keller Lecture Series

Erik skiing with quote: I think this is the best time in history, the most precious time in history to be a pioneer, to reach out, to seize hold of adversity and challenges we face, to harness energy not only  to transform our own lives, but to elevate the world around us.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Our speaker for the Helen Keller Lecture Series this year is Erik Weihenmayer. He is the author of the book, No Barriers. His book is about his life and adventures and how he hasn’t let his blindness define what he could accomplish. He “is the first and only blind person to summit Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. His expedition leader slapped him on the back and said something that would affect the course of Erik’s life: Don’t make Everest the greatest thing you ever do.” The book No Barriers is his response to that challenge.”

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Erik Weihenmayer, Jeff Evans, and Eric Alexander on the summit of Mt. Everest in 2001. (Photo: Luis Benitez) 
Erik skiing 
Erik skiing in British Colombia 
Erik kayaking 
Erik kayaking in Westwater 
Erik on Mt. Sherman 
Erik ice climbing 


About the Lecture Series

The Helen Keller Lecture Series, which began in 1995 as the vision of Dr. and Mrs. Jack Hawkins, Jr., was initiated to call attention to and raise awareness of the challenges of those with physical limitations, particularly those affecting sensory ability. Through the years, the lecture has also provided the opportunity to highlight those who have devoted their careers to meeting the needs of the sensory impaired and to celebrate the collaborative efforts and partnerships of Troy University and the agencies and individuals who serve these special individuals.

This year’s lecture is sponsored by the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, Health Center South, the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Helen Keller Foundation, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, the Alabama State Department of Education, TROY Athletics and TROY’s College of Arts and Sciences, Sorrell College of Business, College of Communication and Fine Arts and College of Education.

About Helen Keller

Helen Keller was an Alabamian, an American author and lecturer. She overcame considerable obstacles to serve as an inspiration for other persons with disabilities. Born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, she had an acute illness that left her deaf and blind at 19 months old. No way could be found to educate her until her seventh year when she began her special education in reading and writing with Anne Sullivan.

Miss Keller quickly learned to read by the Braille system and to write by means of a specially constructed typewriter. In 1890, she learned to speak after only one month of study. Ten years later she was able to enter Radcliffe College, where she graduated with honors in 1904.

Miss Keller then served on the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind and, shortly thereafter, began lecturing throughout the world. After World War II, she visited wounded veterans in United States hospitals and lectured in Europe on behalf of those with physical impairments.

Her writings include “The Story of My Life,” “The World I Live In,” “Out of the Dark,” “Midstream,” “My Later Life,” “Let Us Have Faith,” "Teacher: Anne Sullivan Macy” and “The Open Door.” Her life is the subject of the film, “The Unconquered,” and the play, “The Miracle Worker,” which was made into an award-winning film by American author William Gibson.