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News from the Hilltop

Feb. 17, 2014

"Pursuit of Happyness" hero Chris Gardner is 2014 Stirling Lecturer at BSC

Chris GardnerBIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Chris Gardner, subject of the published autobiography and blockbuster movie "The Pursuit of Happyness," will deliver the 2014 Alex P. Stirling Lecture at Birmingham-Southern College.

His talk will take place on Wednesday, March 5, at 7 p.m. in the Norton Center Bruno Great Hall on campus. The event is free and the public is invited.

Gardner's first book, "The Pursuit of Happyness," chronicling his hard times and eventual comeback, was released in 2006—just six months before the Hollywood film of the same name that starred Will Smith as Gardner and focused on his nearly one-year struggle as a homeless single parent in San Francisco.

Unwilling to give up his son or his dream of financial independence, Gardner started at the bottom. Without connections or a college degree, he earned a spot in the Dean Witter Reynolds training program and became the sole trainee offered a job at Reynolds in 1981.

Since then, Gardner started his own successful Chicago brokerage firm; he's now resigned from it to allow more time for speaking and philanthropy. He works with several programs serving the homeless and is a board member of the National Fatherhood Initiative; he received the group's Father of the Year Award in 2002.

In his talk at BSC, Gardner will share how anyone can tap into their unknown potential if they can find their passion, be practical, and develop a plan. His extraordinary story illustrates the power of believing in yourself and your dreams.

The Stirling Lecture Series is sponsored by the college's Student Government Association in memory of Alex Stirling, a BSC student who died of cancer in 1995.

About Birmingham-Southern College:

Birmingham-Southern College is a four-year, private liberal arts institution in Birmingham, Ala., founded in 1856 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It enrolls about 1,200 students from more than 30 states and 16 foreign countries. Learn more online at www.bsc.edu.