Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2011-04-06


Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson’s upcoming April 11 appearance at Samford University has generated interest from many sectors: college students and the general public, as well as some well-read middle school students who have a heart for his cause.

A group of students and teachers from Tuscaloosa Magnet Middle School will be on hand to present Mortenson with some $425 they raised for his Pennies for Peace program, which funds schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  The students, Camryn Walker, Julie Jackson and Jessica Ballard, earned their lecture tickets after winning the school’s world peace essay contest.

Kristy DeShazo, a fifth grade teacher at Moody Middle School, and six students will present Mortenson with $400 that Moody students raised, also by collecting pennies. The project came about after the students read the youth version of Three Cups of Tea earlier this year.

“We are thrilled that Greg Mortenson has generated such interest from a wide range of people, including children, university students and adults. His mission and passion seems to resonate with many,” said Samford School of Education staff member Della Fancher, who is coordinating Mortenson’s visit.

Members of book clubs, church classes and other groups have made plans to attend, she said.

Mortenson, founder of Central Asia Institute and Pennies for Peace educational charity, has established or supports 171 schools in rural and often volatile regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan, providing education to more than 68,000 children.

The 7 p.m. lecture in Wright Center Concert Hall will benefit Samford’s Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education and Professional Studies. The author will hold a book singing after the lecture.

The lecture is the first in the new Tom and Marla Corts Distinguished Author Series. It honors the late Dr. Tom Corts, who was president of Samford for 23 years, and his wife, Marla, who has supported a Christian school in Africa that bears her name for almost two decades.

Tickets are still available. General admission tickets are $22. Reserved tickets that include a 6 p.m. reception with the author are $72. All tickets include a $2 convenience fee. Group discounts are available. For tickets, go to or call (205) 726-4343.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.