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Greg Mortenson, author of the New York Times bestseller Three Cups of Tea, will address graduates May 17 at the School of Nursing commencement ceremony.

A nurse himself, Mortenson will offer a unique, global perspective on nursing in his speech, which fits with the Nursing School’s educational model.

“Our goal in nursing is to prepare nurses who will change the world through knowledge and caring,” Nursing Dean Afaf Meleis wrote in a statement.

In his award-winning book, Mortenson writes about his experience living in the small Pakistani village of Korphe after a failed attempt to climb K2, the world’s second tallest mountain.

After falling dangerously ill, Mortenson was nursed back to health by the villagers in Korphe. He then built a school for the village.

“His response to the needs of the villages, his community-based approach and his belief in education as the key to a better life resonate with our own mission in nursing — which is to improve people’s lives and give them resources to take care of themselves,” Meleis wrote.

Mortenson paints a captivating picture of village life in his novel and narrates his ability to overcome his illness and make the best of his situation.

“Mr. Mortenson is an incredible role model for how to turn failure (not making the summit of K2 in Pakistan) into an opportunity,” Meleis added.

Nursing senior Ariella Kopinsky is looking forward to the speech. “Because I’m minoring in education, I’m really excited to hear his perspective because he was involved in both nursing and education,” she said.

Meleis added that Mortenson is a role model for students.

“He is the epitome of what our graduates can and will do,” she wrote.

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