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April 26, 2016

UM's Spring 2016 Commencement Speaker

Montevallo, Ala. – The University of Montevallo will host special guest Will Pearson, president and co-founder of Mental Floss, as the keynote speaker for Spring Commencement on Sat., May 7.

Since launching mental__floss magazine from his dorm room at Duke University in 2001, Pearson and fellow co-founder Mangesh Hattikudur have grown the media company to reach more than 25 million people each month. The brand is dedicated to delivering a perfect blend of knowledge and entertainment to lifelong learners everywhere.

“We are very excited to have Mr. Pearson as our Spring Commencement speaker,” John W. Stewart, University of Montevallo President stated.  “Our graduates will hear advice and wisdom from someone whose creativity and entrepreneurship have changed the manner in which thought provoking publications are conceived of and delivered.”

Mental Floss has expanded to include mentalfloss.com, “mental__floss” magazine and the Mental Floss YouTube channel, a joint venture with best-selling author John Green.

Pearson is the co-author of 12 Mental Floss books, including the bestselling “Condensed Knowledge” and “Forbidden Knowledge.” He also lead the Mental Floss team in creating “SmartyPants”, the company’s first children’s series, produced in partnership with toy company Melissa and Doug.

In October 2015, Mental Floss entered the world of television, where Pearson served as executive producer on “Brain Surgery Live with Mental Floss”, a joint venture with National Geographic Channel. The show, hosted by Bryant Gumbel, aired the first live brain surgery in America and ran in 171 countries in 45 languages.

Named one of America’s Coolest Young Entrepreneurs by “Inc.” magazine, Pearson is a regular guest on TODAY with Kathie Lee and Hoda and has made more than 100 national television appearances.

Pearson has served as chairman of the board for Magic Moments, an organization dedicated to granting wishes to Alabama’s children suffering from life-threatening medical conditions. He has served on multiple advisory boards for Duke University.

“We appreciate his willingness to serve.  There is a great deal of enthusiasm about Mr. Pearson’s visit and address,” Stewart added.

He lives in Hoover, Alabama with his wife Georgia, a graduate of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, and the couple’s two children.

The spring graduation ceremony will start on May 7 at 9 a.m. on the Flowerhill Lawn on the University of Montevallo campus.