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DAA: Kevin L. Eikenberry

Kevin Eikenberry

Kevin L. Eikenberry

Indianapolis, IN | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2004

Imagine settling into a comfortable, center row seat at your local movie theater, digging into a tub of hot, buttered popcorn, watching your favorite actor in an Oscar-winning role . . . and learning a lifetime lesson in the process. That’s exactly the scene Kevin Eikenberry envisions. In fact, he’s such a fan of big-screen lessons that he’s currently writing a book on movies about enriching your life through the most important movies of all time. “Movies are stories, and we make sense of our lives and experiences through stories,” says Eikenberry, whose draft will include essays on the top 50 inspirational films as identified through a poll of 10,000-plus respondents. “In most films, there are tremendous opportunities to recognize yourself in a character or situation. If you direct your movie discussions the right way, a lot of learning results.” Eikenberry’s own lessons started with his first trip to the theater to see Jungle Book. He’s returned many times since, and counts Tom Hanks, Robin Williams, and Jimmy Stewart among his favorite actors. He’d award Oscars to Hoosiers, Groundhog Day, Radio, and Seabiscuit, but says it was no surprise that It’s A Wonderful Life ranked first among poll respondents. His literary concept has been well received by several publishers, including editors of the Chicken Soup For The Soul series. “I have a copy of the New York Times bestseller list in my office. I’ve crossed out the number one title, and penciled in my magical movies book,” he laughs. His story’s true moral, however, is the many ways in which people can learn. “I believe our creative, intellectual, and spiritual potential is so much greater than what any of us ever reaches,” Eikenberry says. “We can make miracles happen, and learning is an important part of that process.” “I was very fortunate to have Purdue University instructors who were exemplary role models. When I reflect on it now, I realize I saw them, everyday, modeling how to make learning more effective for adults.”