WHAT: Ian Klaus, author of "Elvis is Titanic," is the keynote speaker at the New Student Convocation at Lawrence Technological University.
WHEN: Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2 p.m. (Klaus will be available for interviews prior to that time.)
WHERE: Ridler Field House, 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield, which is #2 on the campus map (link).
WHO: Ian Klaus is a 26-year-old Rhodes Scholar who wrote the best-selling book, "Elvis is Titanic," a poignant, funny, and eye-opening account of the semester he spent at Salahaddin University in Arbil, the largest city in Iraqi Kurdistan, teaching U.S. history and English in the middle of the war.
WHY: Inspired by the volunteerism of so many young Americans after 9/11, Klaus exchanged the abstraction of duty for an intimate involvement with individual lives, among them Mahir, a rakish Kurdish pop star whose father, an imam, disapproves of music; Ali, an Anglomaniac professor of translation devoted to the BBC, with whom Klaus has a public showdown over Hemingway; and Sarhang, Klaus's bodyguard, whose interest in American history is excited by Mel Gibson's performance in The Patriot. Among the Kurds, a perennially oppressed but seemingly indomitable people, Klaus encounters both openhearted welcome and resentful suspicion-and soon learns firsthand how far even a trusted stranger can venture in this society. With assignments ranging from Elvis to Ellington, from the mysteries of baseball to the aperçus of Tocqueville, Klaus strives to illuminate the American way for people initially far more attuned to our pop culture than our national ideals.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, offers over 80 undergraduate, master's and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes 75 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech's 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with education centers in Lansing, Livonia, Clinton Township, Traverse City and Petoskey. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.