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Co-Founder of JanSport to Speak at Roanoke College

Skip Yowell, co-founder of JanSport, will share his outdoor adventures and economic success next month at Roanoke College.

His lecture titled, “The Hippie Sharing the Vision of Founding JanSport,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7 in the Colket Center’s Wortmann Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

Yowell’s journey from a small Kansas town to Seattle led him to the top of the outdoor industry and, along with two family members, helped him to build JanSport. Today, JanSport is one of the most recognized brand names in outdoor equipment.

Yowell has been an active climber during his time with JanSport, and he even collaborated with Rainier Mountaineering Inc. to create a five-day climb up Mt. Rainier in Seattle. The climb, called the JanSport Seminar, is open to all employees of official JanSport dealers.

Now, Yowell tells the story of his adventures and expeditions. He is author of the book, “The Hippie Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder & Other Mountains: How JanSport Makes It Happen.”

He will sign copies of his book on Feb. 7, after his lecture.

Yowell remains an ambassador for the JanSport brand, consulting for JanSport international partners in North America, Europe, Asia and South America.

His appearance at Roanoke is sponsored by the college’s Honors Program, as part of its annual Honors Conference Week. Trivial Pursuit is the theme of this year’s conference, which is Feb. 6 -10, and each day represents different categories.

Monday, Feb. 6, has a history and geography theme, and it will include lectures on Salem’s role in the Civil War and the topic of history as a vocation. John Long and Dr. Robert Willingham of Roanoke’s History Department will give these lectures.

Tuesday, Feb. 7, will be a sports and leisure theme, and the day will include a hike in Shawsville and Yowell’s evening appearance.

Wednesday, Feb. 8, will have an arts and literature theme. It will include a discussion at Mill Mountain Coffee & Tea in Salem and a Poetry Slam event in the Colket Center’s Garrett Room.

Thursday, Feb. 9 carries a science and nature theme, and participants will learn the chemistry of tie dye. Lisa Goodwin also will give a public lecture on pediatric cancer and care at 7:30 p.m. in the Colket Center’s Garrett Room. Goodwin is co-founder and managing director of Connor’s Heroes Foundation, a nonprofit group that helps families whose children are treated for cancer at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond.

The week concludes on Friday, Feb. 10 with a talent show in the Wortmann Ballroom.

Roanoke’s Honors Program is designed for students who excel in academics, have strong leadership skills and pursue numerous extracurricular activities. The program also offers students distinct educational opportunities and classes. Honors students spend time each semester doing volunteer work throughout the local community.

For more information, contact Dr. Michael Hakkenberg, director of the Honors Program, at [email protected].

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