Author and Alumnus David Baldacci to Return as Valedictory Speaker

March 25, 2010 — David Baldacci, author of 19 political thrillers, including "Absolute Power," "The Whole Truth" and, next month, "Deliver Us From Evil," will give the valedictory address during Finals Weekend at the University of Virginia.

The Class of 2010 Valedictory Exercises will be on May 22 at 11 a.m. on the Lawn.

A 1986 graduate of the Law School, Baldacci is a frequent visitor to U.Va. He spoke at the Law School's commencement in 2006 and was the valedictory speaker for the class of 2002. He has also participated in the Virginia Festival of the Book.

Baldacci, a native Virginian, still lives in the commonwealth, just outside Washington, D.C. His undergraduate degree in political science is from Virginia Commonwealth University and, after graduation from U.Va., he practiced law for nine years in Washington.

A best-selling and prolific writer, he is also the author of seven original screenplays, essays, short stories and a young-adult fiction series. His next thriller, "Deliver Us from Evil," scheduled for release April 20, will be published not only as a hardback, but also as an e-book and in an "enriched" electronic version. Deleted passages, research photos and an audio interview will be included, according to The Associated Press.

In a 2009 interview, he said he owns a Kindle, Amazon's popular e-book reader. "My philosophy on that is you need to go where the readers are," he said.

Baldacci contributes to and is involved in several philanthropic efforts. His greatest efforts are dedicated to his family's own Wish You Well Foundation, which supports family literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of new and existing literacy and educational programs.

He and his wife Michelle write on the organization's Web site, "The ability to read is the foundation for everyday life. Indeed, virtually none of the major issues we face as a nation today can be successfully overcome until we eradicate illiteracy."

Baldacci serves as a national ambassador for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and participates in numerous charities, including the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, the American Cancer Society and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

For information on Finals Weekend, visit the Web site. Additionally, contact Josh Lesko, class of 2010 graduation committee chairman, 757-515-5607 or jdl5s@virginia.edu; or Sarah Elaine Hart, president of the class of 2010, 540-460-1476 or seh5v@virginia.edu.

— By Marian Anderfuren