Author, long-distance hiker presents first Last Lecture

Author, business owner and record-setting long-distance hiker Jennifer Pharr Davis will share lessons learned on the Appalachian trail at East Carolina University April 19 and 20.

Davis has hiked more than 9,000 miles of long distance trails on six continents. She is the owner of the Blue Ridge Hiking Company in Asheville, and author of “Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail,” which chronicles her experiences on a grueling four-month hike from Georgia to Maine.

Following her 2004 graduation from Samford University in Birmingham, Ala., Davis found herself dissatisfied with her career path. Her decision to leave her job and embark alone on a record-setting 2,175-mile hike led to a life-altering experience that transformed her both physically and emotionally. Recounting that experience in “Becoming Odyssa,” Davis said, “I had no idea that the challenges faced as a 21-year-old woman hiking the Appalachian Trail would so deeply impact who I am, what I believe and how I want to live.”

Davis will share critical life lessons learned on the trail with her ECU audience. Her visit to campus includes the following events that are open to the public:

April 19

12:30 p.m., Tipsy Teapot  – Lunch and conversation with the author

3:30 p.m., Campus Recreation and Wellness – Backpacking and hiking clinic

7 p.m. Hendrix Theatre – “Goals, Attitudes and Balance – How to Pack Your Backpack for Success,” followed by a book signing

April 20

4 p.m., Hendrix Theatre – “Six Months Without a Mirror: Redefining beauty, success and happiness without the help of mainstream media.”

Davis’ visit is part of a new ECU program entitled “The Last Lecture,” developed from a partnership between the Office of Student Transitions and First Year Programs and Campus Recreation and Wellness, the Department of English and the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. The program is based upon the famed last lecture made by the late professor Randy Pausch, a Carnegie Mellon University professor who presented an upbeat presentation following his diagnosis with terminal pancreatic cancer.

Mary Beth Corbin, director of the Office of Student Transitions and First Year Programs, said the ECU Last Lecture program specifically targets rising sophomores, who are often “in the throes of confusion in their academic, social and personal development.” She said the speaker is asked to focus on beliefs related to life’s transitions.

For additional information, contact Corbin at 252-328-4173 or corbinm@ecu.edu.

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