Smart to speak at BGSU PDF Print E-mail
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor   
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 09:37
Elizabeth Smart
Elizabeth Smart, who was abducted as a teen and held captive for nine months, will share her story of survival and recovery this fall at Bowling Green State University.
Smart, who has reached out to other abduction victims including the three women recently freed in Cleveland, has become an advocate for child recovery programs and legislative changes.
Smart, now 25, will visit BGSU on Nov. 5 as part of a program sponsored by the BGSU University Libraries and its advocates board.
In 2002, on the night before she was to graduate from junior high, Smart was kidnapped at knifepoint from her bed in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her disappearance captured the nation's attention, until she was found nine months later just 18 miles from her home.
Smart fits the library's goal of hosting "ordinary people with extraordinary stories," said Sara Bushong, dean of University Libraries.
"Elizabeth Smart's story really seemed to rise to the top for us," Bushong said.
"She presents such a message of hope," Bushong said of Smart. "It really resonates with the audience."
The message will be even more poignant now, she said, with the recent rescue of three women held over a decade in Cleveland.
Smart has dedicated much of her time to helping others who have been abducted. She and four other survivors worked with the Department of Justice to create a guide called "You're Not Alone: The Journey from Abduction to Empowerment." Smart explains that her abductors had taken nine months from her, and she was determined to not let them destroy any more of her life.
She is also scheduled to release her memoir in October, right before her visit to BGSU.
While on campus, Smart will speak to students at 2:30 p.m., in the Wolfe Center for the Arts.
"One thing she really wanted to do was talk to students," Bushong said.
"And we wanted to provide an opportunity to BGSU students to hear her at no cost."
Later in the day, Smart will speak in the Bowen Thompson Student Union Grand Ballroom as a fundraiser for the BGSU University Libraries. A VIP reception will be held at 6 p.m., followed by a dinner at 7 p.m., and Smart speaking at 8 p.m. The cost for dinner and Smart's presentation will be $50. Organizers hope to fill all 600 spaces in the ballroom audience.
The library advisory board wanted to bring a speaker to campus with a powerful message, according to Bushong.
"This is a way to give back to the community," she said. "To know there are ordinary people who have extraordinary stories to tell that we can all learn from."
The goal is to remind people that "libraries care about people, and offer a message of hope," she said.
"We're very excited," Bushong said. The Library Advocates Board is "a group of really passionate people who want to give back to the community and help the library."
The fundraiser will help BGSU digitize library resources, which will help provide digital access anytime, anywhere to the library's archives and special collections.

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