Cornell Hosts"The Most Trusted Stranger in America"
On Tuesday, the Cornell University Program Board (CUPB) welcomed “the most trusted stranger in America” to Bailey Hall. This online secret-keeper, otherwise known as Frank Warren, is the founder and curator of the PostSecret Project, an online blog that showcases anonymous postcards from around the world. Written on each postcard is a secret of the sender, complete with a unique illustration. The website averages seven million visitors per month and has accumulated over 200,000 secrets thus far. In 2006, the site won six weblog awards, including “Best American Blog” and “Blog of the Year.” As the mastermind behind this growing project, Frank Warren seeks to increase awareness for suicide prevention. His site has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
Frank Warren, a native of Arizona and graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, is the New York Times Best-Selling author of PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives. His most recent publication, PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God, debuted #1 on the New York Times Best-Seller List. Mr. Warren has made appearances on several media outlets, including 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, and MSNBC. He travels the country with his artistic exhibit in the hopes that people will realize they are not alone in their life struggles.
During his presentation at Cornell University, Mr. Warren first explained the purpose of his blog, revealed a few of his personal secrets, and then shared examples of submitted postcards on a projection screen. A particularly honest postcard, which generated laughter from the audience, featured a depiction of the sender’s high school with the corresponding caption: “To the class of 1977, I still hate you all.” Another stirring example delivered the following plea: “I didn’t enlist to escape you. I enlisted to pay for our wedding. Will you marry me?” After demonstrating the precedent set by others, Warren encouraged members of the audience to approach the microphone and share a secret of their own, without judgment. This led to a series of moving accounts from members of the Cornell community . . . a community not unfamiliar with tragedy. Tuesday’s emotional workshop helped to forge connections between people of similar predicaments. The revelation that heartache touches everyone, and no one should feel alone in his or her suffering, reverberated throughout Bailey Hall. Mr. Warren concluded his presentation with the following message, which encapsulates the overarching purpose of PostSecret: “The children who feel broken by the world become the adults most likely to change it.”
To experience the international phenomenon, please visit the PostSecret website at www.postsecret.com.