John Schlimm, internationally award-winning author of 11 books on cooking/entertaining, history, how-to and fiction, will speak to the graduating class of 2012.
Schlimm, whose most recent books are “The Tipsy Vegan,” which was featured in The New York Times, and the upcoming “Grilling Vegan Style,” will deliver the keynote address during commencement exercises.
Schlimm was a hit with the students he spoke to during the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association’s Backpack to Briefcase program in January when he delivered his “There Are No Limits” address.
Joshua Gray, a senior broadcast communications major from St. Charles, Ill., was one of the students at the program.
“The spirit and drive that John brought to Backpack to Briefcase was amazing,” Gray said. “I have never listened to a speaker and wished he had more time to speak. I hope he brings that to Commencement.”
Gray also noted that Schlimm is a Pitt-Bradford alumnus, having earned dual teaching certifications in English and speech communications from 1999 to 2001 and that he’s done much more than be a vegan cookbook author.
His venture into cookbook writing began with two books related to his family’s business, Straub Brewery Inc., which was founded in the 1870s by his great-great-grandfather Peter Straub. He began with “The Straub Beer Cookbook” and “The Straub Beer Party Drinks Handbook” before writing “The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook,” which is the largest beer cookbook ever published and went on to be named both “Best Beer Book in the U.S.” and “Best Beer Book in the World” by the international Gourmand Awards.
Schlimm’s other books include “The Seven Stars Cookbook: Recipes from World-Class Casino Restaurants,” “The Pennsylvania Celebrities Cookbook,” “Corresponding with History” and “Twang,” his debut novel that draws from his former work as a celebrity publicist in the country music industry.
Schlimm’s efforts as an activist and advocate include work and fundraising on behalf of such issues as domestic violence and sexual abuse, animal safety and welfare, literacy and education, healthy lifestyle choices, cancer prevention and treatment, volunteerism and many others. He works with such local and national organizations as the Humane Society, CAPSEA Inc., the American Red Cross’s Swimming and Water Safety Program, and the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. He is also the founding co-director of Team Straub, the fundraising arm of Straub Brewery.
In recent years, he has traveled the country doing appearances and speaking to a wide variety of groups. He has appeared on such national media outlets as “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” QVC, NPR, “Martha Stewart’sEveryday Food,” and cable’s No. 1 morning show, “Fox & Friends.”
During his early career, Schlimm served in the vice presidential communications office at the White House where he worked with second lady Tipper Gore, worked in production and scriptwriting for the national radio series “Enterprising Women,” was a fundraiser for various national and local nonprofits, and served as a celebrity publicist at FrontPage Publicity in Nashville.
In 2003, he joined the faculty at Pitt-Bradford as an adjunct professor in the Division of Communication and the Arts, where he was also the host of the radio program “Campus Crossfire” for five seasons. During the 2006-07 academic year, he served as the visiting assistant professor for broadcast communications.
Schlimm has also been a promotional writer for various entities, including Caesars Entertainment, the country’s preeminent literary PR firm, and a leading publisher, where he wrote on behalf of Hollywood and literary superstars as well as some of the country’s most respected brand names. His articles and writings have also appeared in various anthologies, including the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, magazines, newspapers, and online news sources.
In addition to a bachelor’s degrees from Marymount University and dual education certifications from Pitt-Bradford, Schlimm holds a master’s degree in education from Harvard University.