May 06, 2011

Erik Weihenmayer on Mt. Cook

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By Heather Johns

LEWISBURG, Pa. — In his book, The Adversity Advantage, Bucknell's 2011 Commencement speaker Erik Weihenmayer says an inner light drives success.

"Inside each of us is something I can only describe as a light, which has the capacity to feed on adversity, to consume it like fuel," he wrote. "By tapping into that light, every frustration, every setback, every obstacle becomes a source to power our lives forward. The greater the challenge, the brighter the light burns. Through it, we become more focused, more creative, more driven, and can even learn to transcend our own perceived limitations to bring our lives more purpose and power."

Weihenmayer has brought purpose and power to many lives the world over, and on May 22 he'll impart his wisdom and inspiration to Bucknell's graduating Class of 2011. || Only blind climber to summit Everest to speak at Commencement || 900 to graduate at 161st Commencement || Watch Commencement live online

Sometimes it takes more than words to tell a story. Here are some numbers to consider when thinking about Weihenmayer's:

150 - Mountaineers, including Weihenmayer, who have climbed all Seven Summits.

26,000 - Feet up Mount Everest Weihenmayer climbed before calling and chatting with President Bush on the phone.

6 - Number of blind Tibetan teenagers Weihenmayer led to 21,500 feet on the north face of Mount Everest.

10 - Languages in which Weihenmayer's first book, Touch the Top of the World, is published.

2 - Emmy nominations earned by "Farther than the Eye Can See," a documentary on Weihenmayer's historic Everest climb.

18 - Students Weihenmayer led into Machu Picchu via the Super Inca Trail - nine blind, nine sighted.

20/20 - One of at least eight national television programs on which Weihenmayer has appeared.

2001 - The year Bucknell Commencement speaker Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind person in history to summit Mount Everest.

2011 - The graduating Bucknell class that will hear Erik Weihenmayer's commencement address.

160 - Bucknell commencement speakers before Weihenmayer, who will be the University's 161st.

900 - Undergraduate and graduate students who will hear Weihenmayer speak at Bucknell's Commencement.

13 - Age at which Weihenmayer became totally blind due to retinoschisis.

1995 - The year Weihenmayer climbed the 20,320-foot Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America.

XXVI - Official Olympic year Weihenmayer carried the Olympic Torch in Phoenix, Ariz.

500,000 - Dollar amount raised for Braille Without Borders by "Blindsight," a documentary about Weihenmayer's successful effort to lead blind Tibetan teenagers on a climb of Everest.

700 - Online viewers of Bucknell's 2010 Commencement ceremony. Watch Erik Weihenmayer speak to the Class of 2011 on May 22 at

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