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AUTHOR, ALUMNUS TO HELP WELCOME BLUFFTON CLASS OF 2016

Tobias Buckell '00
Tobias Buckell, a New York Times best-selling science fiction author and Bluffton University graduate, will be the featured speaker Tuesday, Aug. 28, as Bluffton welcomes the class of 2016 to campus at its annual opening convocation.

With faculty in regalia looking on, about 280 new first-year and transfer students will be introduced during the ceremony, which begins at 10:45 a.m. in Founders Hall.

Buckell’s presentation, "Life at the Speed of Change," will launch Bluffton’s 2012-13 civic engagement theme, "Virtual Living: Technology’s Impact on Culture and Learning." Each year, the university focuses on a significant contemporary issue that is related to its mission and becomes the subject of cross-disciplinary exploration. For incoming first-year students, that exploration begins with a common summer reading. This year’s book is Buckell’s 2012 novel, "Arctic Rising," set in a not-too-distant future in which the polar ice caps have melted.

"Tobias Buckell will help all of us reflect on technology’s impact on our lives," said Dr. Sally Weaver Sommer, Bluffton’s vice president and dean of academic affairs. "As revealed in both his speculative fiction and his analytical work, Tobias’ expertise with technological questions will be an excellent beginning to our yearlong reflection on this theme."

Buckell earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Bluffton in 2000 and was the 2009 recipient of its Outstanding Young Alumni Award. The Bluffton resident has written extensively about technology’s role in people’s lives in his six novels and roughly 50 published short stories—many of which also draw on his Caribbean background for characters and settings.

A native of the island of Grenada, he lived aboard boats as a youngster. In 1995, after a series of hurricanes destroyed the boat where his family was living, he moved to Ohio, where his stepfather had grown up. He began writing stories and submitting them to magazines while in high school and, during his junior year at Bluffton, started selling short stories.

A full-time author and freelancer since 2006, he also works for various blogs as a writer and editor. His work has been translated into 16 languages.

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Bluffton public relations, 8/17/12