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Collins Tuohy of "Blind Side" Fame to Speak On Campus Feb. 18

Before it was an Academy Award-nominated film, or a best-selling book, the story that inspired "The Blind Side" was Collins Tuohy's life.

She met Michael Oher, who would ultimately be adopted by her family, when they were students at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tenn. A student from an impoverished background, Oher was a 16-year-old sophomore and, at 6-4 and 340 pounds, was hard to miss at the private school. Tuohy was a gifted athlete and daughter of a wealthy family.

The story of Oher's adoption by the Tuohy family, rise to stardom as an offensive lineman with the University of Mississippi and ultimately his selection by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2009 NFL draft was told in "The Blind Side," first a book by Michael Lewis, and then a film starring Sandra Bullock.

Bullock has been nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Oher and Tuohy's mother.

For Collins Tuohy, the experience has been life-changing. She will speak to ODU students about her family's journey in the Big Blue Room of Old Dominion University's Ted Constant Convocation Center at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18.

From high school classmates, Tuohy and Oher both moved on to the University of Mississippi, where Oher played on a football scholarship. Tuohy, who was high school state champion in Tennessee in the pole vault, cheered on Oher from the sidelines as an Ole Miss cheerleader. She graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism, and is now a professional speaker.

In her speech, Tuohy takes audiences through her journey with Oher from fellow high school student, to close friend and, ultimately, adoptive sister.

As she prepared to accompany him to New York, where he was one of nine prospects invited to the NFL draft, Tuohy sounded like a typical protective sister. "I'm a bit nervous," she said. "I really don't want to see him trucking off to some faraway place."

Since Oher was drafted by the Ravens and moved to Baltimore, Tuohy has remained close, traveling frequently to see him.

Tuohy's talk on Feb. 18 is free, but tickets are required to attend.

Students can pick up tickets from the Webb Center's Campus Information Center (front lobby). Any remaining tickets will be made available to faculty and staff beginning Monday, Feb. 15.

An ODU ID is required for ticket pickup, and there is a limit of two tickets per ID.

This event is sponsored by the Office of Student Activities and Leadership. For more information about the Collins Tuohy speech or any other OSAL event, call 683-3446.

This article was posted on: February 9, 2010

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