Andrew Solomon delivers positive Disability Awareness Month messages

When award-winning author Andrew Solomon was born, homosexuality was considered an illness. Throughout his lifetime, he has witnessed the evolution of homosexuality into a dynamic, vibrant identity for himself and millions of others.

“A great deal of attention has been paid to the advancement of gay people, but less ink has been given to the acceptance of other types of differences,” explains Solomon, who spent the better part of the last decade exploring how differences evolve into identities for exceptional children.


Solomon conducted some 300 interviews with families and children coping with such conditions as deafness, dwarfism, Down syndrome, autism and more for his 2012 book Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity. His conclusion:  Individual differences in children, often the basis for much stigmatizing, can unite them as well.

“While each of these experiences can isolate those who are affected, together they compose an aggregate of millions whose struggles connect them profoundly,” says Solomon, who shared his message with university faculty, students and staff last week as part of Disability Awareness Month activities. “The exceptional is ubiquitous; to be entirely typical is a rare and lonely state.”

Department of Family Studies and Community Development Chair Karen Eskow was so impressed by Solomon’s work that she personally emailed him and began months of discussions that resulted in his visit.

“Our department has a unique and distinct commitment to raising awareness and promoting an appreciation of individual differences,” says Eskow.

Following a well-attended noon Book Talk at the University Union, Solomon was joined by some 350 students, instructors and community members in a workshop on “The Diversity of Disability: Raising Awareness,” which included a panel presentation by five Towson students with various disabilities including learning issues, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, hydrocephalus, mental health concerns and dwarfism.

“The dialogue that Andrew Solomon brought to campus was the highlight of our Disability Awareness Month activities,” notes Susan Willemin, director of Disability Support Services. “Following an initial review of feedback from students who attended the workshop, without a doubt they were positively impacted by what he had to say.”

The workshop was co-sponsored by the Department of Family Studies and Community Development, Disability Support Services and the College of Liberal Arts.  For more information on the month’s activities, contact Disability Support Services.

Far From the Tree received the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. Solomon’s previous book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression was honored with the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2001 and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2002.


TU ready to start hoops season with Tiger Tip-Off this Friday night

Tiger Tip-Off ad

Towson University is ready to hit the hardwood as it prepares for another action-packed season of Tiger basketball. Fans will get their first look at the Towson men’s and women’s basketball teams at this Friday’s Tiger Tip-Off event at SECU Arena.

Players and coaches from each team will be introduced fans and will pass out T-shirts to the crowd with Doc and the Towson cheerleaders.

Players from both teams will compete in a 3-point shooting contest and the four members of the men’s basketball team will do battle in the annual dunk contest.

The basketball teams won’t be the only ones in actions as selected students will go up against members of the basketball teams in a hot-shot contest, a competition where the contestants have to make a layup, a free-throw and a 3-pointer.

The winner of the hot-shot contest will win a dinner cruise for two valued at $200 from Spirit Cruises of Baltimore.

The main event of the evening will give one lucky student-fan the chance to win $10,000 by making a half-court shot. Raffle tickets will be handed out at the event and the person with the winning ticket must be there to take the shot.

“This event is a great opportunity for the students and fans to get to meet the teams and get excited for the start of basketball season,” said men’s basketball coach Pat Skerry. “Fans will get the opportunity to compete against these student-athletes in different competitions, and one will have the opportunity to walk away with $10,000.”

In addition, there will be performances from the cheerleaders and the pep band along with the winners of Greek Life’s “Dance the Madness” contest.

The festivities run from 8-9 p.m. The event is free and open to the general public as well as all TU students.

Towson celebrates Campus Sustainability Day on Wednesday

Towson University is celebrating Campus Sustainability Day on Wednesday, October 22, with a variety of fun activities.


“Campus Sustainability Day is about bringing attention to the many green initiatives on our campus,” said Campus Planning and Sustainability Manager Patricia Watson. “It gives students, faculty and staff an opportunity to get hands-on experience greening themselves and the campus, serving as a reminder that no act is too small and that together we can make a difference.”

Students, faculty and staff are celebrating the day with numerous events, including the following:

  • An energy conservation contest in the residence halls
  • The “Recycling Rush” competition among Greek organizations
  • A green fair in the University Union, featuring representatives from local businesses
  • A lecture by Energy Manager Steve Kolb
  • A screening of the documentary “Wasteland,” about an artist who travels to the world’s largest landfill
  • Free bike-blended smoothies on Paws Patio outside the University Union
  • Ivy removal and tree planting in Glen Woods
  • A pop-up bike repair shop and bike safety workshop

For event locations and times, check out the Campus Sustainability Day Facebook page.

Athletics Weekend Roundup: TU athletes rake in honors

It was a big weekend for Towson University Athletics, as three athletes were given conference awards in their respective sports.

Towson volleyball senior Saitaua Iosia was named CAA Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season.

Towson Volleyball's Saitaua Iosia was one of three Tigers to receive CAA honors this weekend.

Towson Volleyball’s Saitaua Iosia was one of three Tigers to receive CAA honors this weekend.

Iosia had 45 kills in the Tigers’ pair of victories last week. This is the second straight week, and fourth time this season, that a Towson player won the award.

For the second time this season, Towson football’s James Simms was named CAA Rookie of the Week.

The linebacker had six tackles in Towson’s 24-17 upset win at Delaware on Saturday.

Towson women’s soccer co-captain Katie Ponce earned CAA Player of the Week after the Tigers went 1-0-1 this past weekend on the road.

Ponce hit the game-winning goal on Friday against Delaware; it was the Tigers’ first win at Newark since 2000. Ponce also scored a goal in the Tigers’ 2-2 overtime draw at Drexel.

Along with the conference awards, men’s golf sophomore John Hulede won medalist honors at the Lehigh Invitational.

Hulede carded a 148 to earn his first career medalist finish.

Men’s golf earns victory in last tournament of fall season

Behind Hulede’s medalist performance, The Towson men’s golf team finished its fall season by winning the team title at the Lehigh Invitational in Bethlehem, Pa.

The Tigers finished the 36-hole event with a 602 to win the team title by 19 strokes in the 12-team field.

“It’s great to end the fall season with a victory,” said Towson Head Coach Brian Yaniger. “John played exceptionally well, but everyone contributed to the team victory. This win will allow us to go into the spring season with more confidence.”

Senior Sam Stewart claimed fourth-place while sophomore James Grem finished tied for 11th.

Volleyball takes two to extend win streak to five games

The Towson University volleyball team took two conference wins to extend its’ win streak to five games.

On Thursday, The Tigers took a 3-1 win over Elon behind 19 kills by senior Saitaua Iosia. Senior Victoria Williams added 17 kills, while junior Aimee Schubert dished out 29 assists.

On Sunday, Towson got a pair of double-double performances in a hard-fought 3-2 victory at UNC Wilmington.

Iosia finished with a season-high 26 kills, and added 12 digs and three blocks. Haley Pa’akaula had 12 kills, 16 digs and a game-high four services aces.

Towson (now 19-3 overall and  6-2 in the CAA) will be in action again on Tuesday, Oct. 21 when it travels to Delaware State for a non-conference match.

Other athletics news

  • Women’s Soccer finished the weekend with a 1-0-1 record. On Friday, Towson picked up a 1-0 win at Delaware. It was the Tigers’ first win against Delaware since 2009, and the first win at Delaware since 2000. The Tigers then played Drexel to a 2-2 tie on Sunday.
  • The Towson Tennis team finished its fall season at the ITA Regionals held in Virginia Tech. Freshmen Nicole Shakhnazarova and Lucy Williams represented the Tigers, and picked up a doubles victory in the opening round. Williams also picked up an singles round in the opening round of main draw singles.
  • Field Hockey dropped a 2-1 decision to Appalachian State on Sunday at College Park. This came on the heels of a 2-0 defeat against VCU.

Tigers spoil Delaware’s homecoming, 24-17

Towson’s football team scored 14 points in the final 5:23, including a Darius Victor 17-yard touchdown run with 49 seconds remaining, to propel the Tigers to a 24-17 win against rival Delaware on Saturday in front of 17,718 fans at Delaware Stadium.

Towson (3-5, 1-3 CAA) has now won 14 of its last 16 road games, eight of its last nine CAA road games and two straight games at Delaware. The Blue Hens suffered their first conference loss of the season to fall to 4-3 overall and 2-1 in league play.

“It’s good to win, whether it was here or any place in the country, we needed this,” said Towson Head Coach Rob Ambrose. “To win here is a very difficult thing to do. Their fans, their history, their tradition and their beliefs in each other make this a tough place to play. This is a little bit more special than most. This will be good for the kids moving forward and great for the alums. I don’t think we’ve ever beaten them twice (on the road) in a three-year window and that’s a hard thing to do.”

Trailing 17-10 with 8:23 left in the fourth quarter, quarterback Connor Frazier led the Tigers down the field for a game-tying drive. The junior connected on four-of-five passes during the drive, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to senior Spencer Wilkins. Frazier found Wilkins at the 35-yard line and the wideout broke three tackles and sprinted the final 30 yards to tie the game at 17-17 with 5:23 remaining.

“I was happy that Connor gave me a chance to make a big play and I was happy that I was able to make a play for a team,” said Wilkins. “Delaware is a big rivalry game. It’s the biggest game of the year every year. I’m happy that we were able to go out like this in my last game against them.”

The Towson defense, which forced a season-high four turnovers on the afternoon, stepped up big on the ensuing Delaware drive and forced a Blue Hen punt after three straight rushes.

Frazier and the Tiger offense took over on their own 41 with 5:23 remaining. The junior quarterback went 3-for-3 and completed passes to three different receivers on the drive, but Victor was the story. The sophomore running back had 33 yards on five rushes during the drive and his 17-yard touchdown scamper to the left side gave Towson a 24-17 lead with just 49 seconds remaining.

Delaware managed one first down on its final drive, but redshirt freshman James Simms picked off a Trent Hurley pass with 26 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Tigers.

Victor finished with a game-high 113 yards on 21 carries. Frazier, who also connected with sophomore wide receiver Andre Dessenberg for a first quarter touchdown, finished 19-of-32 through the air for 181 yards and two touchdowns, both career highs. Wilkins had seven receptions for a game-high 97 yards and his touchdown grab was the eighth of his career.

Senior Tye Smith posted a team-high nine tackles, recovered a fumble and had two pass break-ups. Junior Christian Carpenter made eight tackles, forced a fumble and picked off his second pass of the season, while senior Ryan Delaire recorded seven tackles, two sacks and forced a fumble.

Towson will have its bye week before returning to action on November 1 against Elon during homecoming weekend. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at Johnny Unitas® Stadium.