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 UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

April 10, 2012
Susan Banovetz | Director of External Affairs | 218 726-6141|
Christiana Kapsner | UMD Public Relations Assistant | 218 726-8830 |

Travel Adventures On All Seven Continents

Award-Winning author Marty Essen to speak at UMD
Explore the world with award-winning author and Duluth native Marty Essen as he presents the multimedia show, Around the World in 90 Minutes, at UMD on Wednesday, April 18 at 7 p.m. in the Weber Music Hall, sponsored by the Ben and Jeanne Overman Distinguished Speaker Series. This event is free and open to the public, with free parking after 6:30 p.m. in campus maroon parking lots.

Around the World in 90 Minutes features interesting facts, stories, and thousands of photos that were taken while Essen traveled the world for his book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents.

Essen has been named the #1 booked college speaker for 38 out of the past 42 months, according to the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA). Additionally, Campus Activities Magazine named Essen as their "Hot Speaker" for 2011. Essen has won multiple book awards for travel/essay writing, including the Benjamin Franklin Award, the Best Books Book Award, and the National Indie Excellence Award. In addition, he won a first place award at the 2009 Green Book Festival in Los Angeles, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune named Cool Creatures, Hot Planet a top-10 "Green" book.

Essen grew up in Duluth. He attended high school at Duluth East and college at UMD.

"I'm really excited about returning to my hometown," said Essen. "I've performed at prestigious colleges from coast to coast, but my UMD show will easily be the highlight of this year's tour."

The Ben and Jeanne Overman Distinguished Speaker Series
The goal of The Ben and Jeanne Overman Distinguished Speaker Series is to demonstrate the interrelationship of achieving success while providing sustenance to others in return.

This was the principle on which Ben and Jeanne Overman built their lives. Ben came to Superior, Wisconsin from Russia when his father took work at a chair factory. His family lived in such poverty that it was necessary to heat their house with the coal dropped from trains. By the time he was 10, Ben was helping to support his family by selling newspapers. He became his family's primary provider but still managed to find time to complete his schooling. Eventually Ben was able to learn the finance and real estate businesses from which his greatest financial success was later achieved.

Jeanne, too, grew up in poverty and began working at a young age. By the time she was a high school junior, she was working as a secretary at Diamond Tool company. Her excellent skills eventually earned her the position of executive secretary to Col. Henry, the longtime business manager of the Duluth Herald. She held this position for many years until she quit working to raise a family.

For 60 years Jeanne and Ben built on their early successes and provided leadership to both the Twin Ports business and Jewish communities. Their efforts resulted in innumerable good deeds, among which was their donation of the original building to house what is now the Boys and Girls Club. Their good deeds are still with us today.

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