Friday, September 27, 2013

The Education of a Lifetime, Robert Khayat

Idgie Says: 
If you love football, Ole Miss and history, this might just be the book for you.  Khayat started out in football as they were being integrated, dealt with race riots during those years and then went on to become a Chancellor at a college he once watched those same riots occur at.  A full life filled with football and history.


The Education of a Lifetime
Memoir of Roberth Khayat
(Nautilus Publishing;
September 10, 2013; $24.95; ISBN: 978-1-936-946-17-4)

As a young boy growing up in a segregated Mississippi, Robert Khayat never could have imagined the strength and courage he would need, as Chancellor of the University of Mississippi, to overcome his greatest adversary: tradition.

In 1962, while a riot was in full swing on the University of Mississippi's campus over the admission of James Meredith, the university's first black student, Khayat was experiencing a different kind of integration. He was a member of the newly integrated Washington Redskins.

The black players were welcomed with open arms as Khayat and his friend, and black teammate, Bobby Mitchell, watched the riot that was taking place at Ole Miss. Khayat had no way of knowing, 35 years later, he would be leading the same university though one of its greatest challenges - its disassociation from the Confederate flag and the university's past.

In his memoir, Khayat writes about his childhood days in Moss Point, Mississippi, the state's segregationist policies that prevented his SEC championship baseball team from playing in the College World Series, and the sadness of experiencing his father's arrest and guilty plea. These seemingly disparate events worked to prepare him to battle the vestiges of racial strife that continued to haunt the university's culture as he accepted the honor of becoming the university's 15th Chancellor.

Khayat's story gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at how a university moved from mediocrity to excellence. We relive, along with Khayat, the courting of an eccentric donor, as well as private conversations with a sitting U.S. President, governors, coaches and celebrities.

We also see how a man worked to make amends for past mistakes. The Education of a Lifetime is a funny, touching and insightful memoir. And it is proof that one man - a man dedicated to respecting the dignity of every individual - can make lasting change

A video where Robert discusses Ole Miss: