winter-spring 2013 / 5
Stirling Lecturer Aron Ralston delivers inspiration with his story
Aron Ralston, adventurer and engineer, shared his epic story of survival to a packed auditorium on campus last month
for this year’s Alex P. Stirling Lecture.
Ten years ago, Ralston was forced to cut off his arm to escape a boulder that trapped him in a slot canyon in a Utah
desert for six days. His ordeal is depicted in the feature film
, which was nominated for six Academy Awards. He
also is the author of an internationally bestselling memoir,
Between a Rock and a Hard Place
During his speech, Ralston described how his emotions went from panic and rage to gratitude during his intense struggle
in the canyon. He told the audience that as he freed himself from the boulder, he said “good riddance” to his hand and
wrist and he smiled.
“That boulder helped me to focus on what’s really important in life—our family, friends, and relationships,” he
remarked. “I had not only a will to live, but a will to love. It’s not enough to enrich our own lives; we must enrich the lives
of those around us.”
Ralston’s story also revealed the character and strengths that we all possess to overcome extreme adversity.
“The boulders in our lives show what’s possible for us and what’s extraordinary in us,” he said. “Being trapped in that
canyon was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.”
The Stirling Lecture Series is sponsored by the Birmingham-Southern Student Government Association in memory of
Alex Stirling, a BSC student who died of cancer in 1995.
WHAT SHOULD BIRMINGHAM-
SOUTHERN BE IN 2023?
The college needs your help figuring that out!
Last year, BSC embarked on a new strategic planning
process. The process will gather input from all of BSC’s major constituencies: students, parents, alumni, faculty,
staff, and the Birmingham community as a whole.
The first step is designing a new college mission statement, a process that’s already under way. If you haven’t
yet, please go to
to find out more about how to participate and to see a schedule of public
forums. Please join us on campus or online—we want your input as we re-envision the college we love for the
Ralston with outgoing SGA officers (from left) Catherine Picou, Brittany Arias, Abigail Dy, and Elizabeth Pettey