Kira Thomas, director of University Relations, poses for a selfie with UM’s mascot, Freddie the Falcon. Photo by Katie Compton
Freddie the Falcon flew into the college Barnes and Noble on Thursday, Oct.11, to promote his new book “Soar with Freddie!: A Journey Through the University of Montevallo.” Although it is a children’s book, Kira Thomas and others at University Relations believe the book will have a large impact on students and alumni as well.
“It’s a fun memento to share with fellow alumni and friends,” said Thomas, Director of University Relations, “the hope is that for alumni, their children or their grandchildren, this will kind of bring them back to the University where the memories are.”
The book features an animated rendering of Freddie the Falcon that takes the reader through a series of popular locations on campus, explaining their importance while also sprinkling in various “Falcon Facts.”
“The campus was designed by the Olmsted Brothers, who also designed New York’s Central Park and the grounds around the Biltmore House in North Carolina. The main part of campus is now a registered National Historic District,” stated one of the many Falcon Facts.
As the narrative continues, the reader can learn more about the history of Montevallo, such as why certain things have their names and why certain events take place through Freddie’s on-campus explorations. Popular events such as College Night, Founder’s Day and the Life Raft Debate were all covered.
“The University of Montevallo is a small but beautiful place beloved by students and alumni alike. We are the true ‘Heart of Alabama’-having historic claim to the center of the state of Alabama. We aren’t far from Birmingham, and with such a beautiful campus I can see why people love it here,” said Freddie in an excerpt from “Soar with Freddie.”
The book was written by Joel Altman, who is a graduate from the University of Ohio. His parents-in-law are alumni. He began the book by thanking them for giving him the idea to base a book around their “beloved” alma mater. He also thanked various people who helped him research the school’s history.
“Freddie is the embodiment of the Montevallo athletic spirit and University spirit, and our goal through this children’s book was to be more relatable and more fun to get younger kids involved with the University,” said Wesley Hallman, Sports Information Director.
Freddie can be found enjoying UM’s basketball and baseball programs. The book highlights the Robert M. McChesney Student Activity Center and the Trustmark Arena.
The decision to make and promote a children’s book for Montevallo came largely from wanting to engage young people in the community and around alumni to love Montevallo, Hallman expressed.
The colleges of business, arts and sciences, education, and fine arts are also all depicted in Freddie’s journey through UM.
“I think it helps build awareness about the University to a young demographic. Their first experience is probably going to come through this book,” said Hallman.
Students that appeared at the event to promote the book showed their support for the publication as well.
“I think it’s a big move for us to give everybody an inside look to the University. It’s pretty cool. It’s Important for alumni to be able to go back and see their university,” said student Keisy Trinidad.
“Soar with Freddie” can currently be exclusively purchased from the Barnes and Noble on Main Street, and those at University Relations and Athletics hope to see the book reach other carriers for greater availability to more audiences.