Visiting author talks to students about overcoming adversity

Courtesy of Prachi Makkar

Courtesy of Prachi Makkar

The Department of Freshman Studies welcomed freshmen summer reading author Jim Davidson, The Ledge: An Inspirational Story of Friendship and Survival, to speak to students on Sept. 21 in the University Center Main Lounge.

The memoir, written in collaboration with author Kevin Vaughan, portrays Jim Davidson’s grieving experience over the death of his best friend Mike Price, who died during their climb up Mount Rainier, the highest peak in the Cascade Range.

Robin Cunningham, associate Vice President of Freshman Studies, said she “enjoyed the book very much,” and feels that “almost every page has a lesson for our students. From realizing that the guidance from our parents in childhood can stay with us and be instrumental to our growth in adulthood, to understanding that a strong mindset and will are sometimes more helpful to us than raw talent.”

Though Seton Hall does not normally host summer reading authors on campus, Cunningham said, “given how relevant the themes of friendship, grit, and transformation are to our students, (Seton Hall) reached out to Jim.”

After relating Davidson’s struggles to those that college students face, freshmen were encouraged to attend Davidson’s presentation.

Approximately 500 students from the Freshman Studies program attended the presentation, along with President Gabriel Esteban and his wife, Josephine, as well as faculty members from a number of departments.

During his presentation, Davidson talked about how every individual will face a personal crevasse.

It might not be a literal crevasse like the one Davidson and his late climbing partner, Mike, experienced. Instead, it could be related to any problem that college students cope with.

Making connections, Davidson tied his experience to Seton Hall’s motto, Hazard Zet Forward. Davidson said that an individual has to “go forward even despite difficulties.”

Freshmen who attended the event or read the book shared their thoughts on their experiences.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to attend an institution with the resources to bring in such an experienced speaker,” said Ryan Jacobs, a freshman diplomacy major.

Mackenzie Rill, another freshman in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations, said “This book was really interesting to read because the story happened so close to my home in Washington.”

Davidson told the audience at his talk that he “had a great time at Seton Hall” and that he appreciated the students’ focus and energy. He said that some conversations with freshmen helped him to understand his book and himself more so he did before coming to Seton Hall.

Megan O’Malley can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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