Author of first-year summer reading book to address New Kensington students

Tom McMillan, author of “Flight 93: The Story, the Aftermath, and the Legacy of American Courage on 9/11,” to speak Oct. 3

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — Tom McMillan, author of “Flight 93: The Story, the Aftermath, and the Legacy of American Courage on 9/11,” the selected book for first-year students at Penn State New Kensington, examines the events that led up to the crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 12:15 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, in the campus’ Forum Theatre.

McMillan’s book is based on interviews, oral histories, personal tours of the crash site and evidence recently made public. His multimedia presentation provides insight into the tragedy from the perspective of the local people who lived near the crash site.

“We are very pleased that Tom is donating his time and allowing us to create another opportunity for our new students to continue the conversation about his book,” said Theresa Bonk, director of student affairs. “I encourage the campus community to learn more about the horrific events of that day.” 

McMillan is vice president of communications for the Pittsburgh Penguins. With his penchant for history, he also serves as a tour guide for the Civil War Room at Carnegie Library. In addition, McMillan teaches at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he is an adjunct professor of media and marketing. He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications.

The Pittsburgh native donates all proceeds from book sales to the Friends of Flight 93, an organization that maintains the national memorial. He is an active volunteer at the site.

The First-Year Summer Reading Program was instituted at the campus in 2005 to encourage reading and critical thinking and to provide a shared experience among new students. Jennifer Gilley, head librarian, organized the first program.

“The committee picked Flight 93 for the summer reading program because it is the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and we realized that most incoming students would have been too young to remember that day directly, so they might benefit from learning more about it,” Gilley said. “Also, the Flight 93 stories, in particular, affected western Pennsylvania and we have the memorial so close by.”

During new student orientation in August, faculty led discussions on McMillan’s book. In addition to orientation, small-group discussions are slated with students, faculty and staff throughout the fall semester.

“I led several discussions with first-year students and learned that they were particularly interested in the complicated backstories of the terrorists and how much planning went into the event,” Gilley said. “They appreciated the multiple perspectives outlined in the book that added to their understanding of what happened on that day.”

For more information on McMillan’s talk, call 724-334-6744.

For more about the reading program, visit the First-Year Summer Reading Program online.


Bill Woodard

Alumni and Public Relations Specialist

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