Coming to see basketball legend, activist, author and humanitarian Kareem Abdul-Jabbar deliver the Rosenn Lecture on Sunday at Wilkes? He will speak about “Becoming Kareem” in a conversation with University President Patrick F. Leahy on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. in the McHale Athletic Center in the University Center on Main.
Rebecca Van Jura, director of special events for the University, shared five things you might not know about preparations for Abdul-Jabbar’s visit:
1,300 — That’s the number of chairs being set up in the McHale Athletic Center. That’s enough to accommodate the nearly 1,200 people who have registered in advance for the event, with a few chairs left over.
Big — This event is big — one of the biggest on-campus lectures in University history in the last two decades.
Two pallets — That’s the number of shipping pallets needed to deliver Abdul-Jabbar’s books for the sale and signing after the lecture. He’s a prolific author and his books include a series about Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s brother.
Timing is everything: All of the activities involved with Abdul-Jabbar’s visit have to be timed to the minute, Van Jura says. From the moment a car picks him up at his hotel and the second he sets foot on campus at 11 a.m., every movement will be clocked to accommodate a hard stop when he has to leave Wilkes-Barre to head to his next engagement. There are precise times for him to attend a brunch, participate in the student picture session, deliver the lecture and sign books.
Pictures are a tall order: The University will be using what it calls its press backdrop as the background for the photo session with Abdul-Jabbar and students. Van Jura had to make sure it was tall enough to accommodate our distinguished guest’s 7- foot, 2-inch frame. Fortunately, the back drop is eight feet tall. While they were at it, event planners also considered the fact that the photographer taking the pictures — who is himself over 6 feet tall — may need to stand a box to get the right angle taking shots of Abdul-Jabbar.
If you are still thinking of attending the lecture, registration is open until 5 p.m. today, Friday, Sept. 28. You can find it here.