TOMS founder to visit MC next semester

Toms shoes can be seen being worn by all age ranges over the world. Founder of Toms shoes, Blake Mycoskie will be at the Chaparral Center Tuesday March 24, 2015 at 7:30 P.M.Mycoskie will be speaking as part of the Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series. Midland College has hosted the lecture series since 1996. Lectures are given once every fall and spring.

Mycoskie is most known for being an entrepreneur, philanthropist and author. The Toms shoes company was founded in 2006. Mycoskie has also started an eyeglass brand named One for One. The eyeglasses have the same concept as the shoes. For every one bought, one is given to someone less fortunate.

Mycoskie was invited to speak at MC by Dean of Community Relations and Special Events, Rebecca Bell.

“I’m in touch with several speaking agencies and one of the agencies mentioned to me that they were representing Blake Mycoskie,” Bell said. A committee, on which Bell serves, decides on who to invite to be a part of the lecture series. “I know the students of philanthropy groups here at Midland College had read Mr. Mycoskie’s book, so I mentioned to the committee that he was available and that I thought he would appeal to students,” Bell said.

The lecture series is funded by an endowment that was given to MC by the Davidson family in 1996. Funding is taken from the interest on the donation. A group called the Friends of the Series also donates money to make the lecture series possible.

“They give $1000 a year. They can give money to our performing arts series or our lecture series,” Bell said.

The name Mycoskie may not sound familiar to all students, but his shoe brand might make them more intrigued to hear him speak. “Even though students might not know the name ‘Blake Mycoskie’ they know the name Toms Shoes,” Bell said.

Former people who have spoken for the Davidson Distinguished Lecture Series vary from authors, historians, actors, comedians, musicians and former presidents. “We’ve had former president of Mexico Vicente Fox, Jane Goodall, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Ken Burns, Sandra Day O’Connor, Ben Stein, and our very first one was David McCullough,” Bell said.

The event is open to everyone and all are encouraged to go.

“I think it’s an excellent learning opportunity. They would be very hard pressed to be able to get this anywhere else for free,” MC Executive Vice President Dr. Richard Jolly said.

The Friends of the Series get preferred seating, but there will still be plenty of good seating left. Jolly said, “There isn’t a bad seat in the house. Friends of the Series usually get a yellow or green ticket and they sit on the floor. Anybody else that goes gets a different colored ticket and they sit in the stands in the Chap Center.”

Students are thrilled to get the opportunity to see Mycoskie. “I’m excited to hear what he has to say. I know he does a lot of good, charitable things for people, so it would be nice to see someone so generous in a world that lacks positivity,” MC student Marla Wilson said.

Students are invited to bring whoever they want.Jolly said,”I would highly recommend that everyone go, and that they get a ticket early.”

Some students are already planning on attending and bringing others along.

“I’m definitely bringing my friends. We all have worn Toms Shoes and we support and admire him,” Wilson said. MC staff and students think positively of Mycoskie and praise him for his work.Jolly said, “What a wonderful thing that he’s done. He gives water to underdeveloped communities and it’s fanned out to shoes and eyeglasses. You buy one and for every one he sells, he gives one away. That’s called social responsibility. That’s something we can all learn from.”

Mycoskie will be In Midland during the spring for one night only. Tickets are not required for general admission, but for preferred seating. For more information, visit http://www.midlandcollegefoundation.org or call (432) 685-4526.

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