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As a cancer survivor and Mount Everest “summiteer,” University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Alan Hobson ’82, of Canada, coaches others to conquer their challenges.

The journalism and radio-TV-film major and former Titan gymnast began his career as a reporter with The Ottawa Citizen, one of Canada’s largest daily newspapers. Hobson then worked as a full-time freelance writer/broadcaster for about 10 years, before writing the official book about the 1988 Olympic torch relay.

His career today as a best-selling author and professional motivational speaker draws from his success reaching the Mount Everest summit on his third attempt in 1997 and his status as a survivor of acute leukemia.

In his role as founder and president of Climb Back from Cancer Coaching, Hobson believes that success is based on 97 percent preparation and 3 percent execution.

During Homecoming weekend in October, Hobson will be among the five UWO alumni to receive a 2010 UW Oshkosh Distinguished Alumni Award.

In his own words …

UWO activities/awards:

Former nine-time All-American gymnast; winner of the William Randolph Hearst Award for Excellence in News Writing; member of the UWO Athletic Hall of Fame.

Favorite UWO professor:

Ken Allen.

Favorite UWO memory:

Winning the NAIA and NCAA II national gymnastics championships six times.

What does your UWO education mean to you?

My journalism and radio/TV training has enabled me to make my living as a professional communicator. My gymnastics experiences at UWO helped me to reach the top of Mount Everest and after that make a 100-percent recovery after a near-terminal cancer diagnosis. Can you put a value on that kind of an education and experience? No, of course not.  It’s as priceless as life itself — and in my case I mean that quite literally.

What advice would you give today’s UWO students?

Don’t pay the slightest attention to our global economic woes. We can’t do much about them. However, do pay the very closest attention to our environmental crisis. Finish your education and get out there and make a difference to the people of this planet. Your future, the future of your children, and the future of the human race and our earth are at stake.

The economy won’t matter if we don’t have clean air to breathe, water to drink and food to eat — for everyone. On the other side of fear is freedom. The key to that freedom is having the courage to take the first step. Take it. Then, whatever happens … keep climbing!

Read more about Hobson in UW Oshkosh’s Engage magazine.

Learn more about Homecoming 2010.

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