Photo: Michael Wong | Photographer
Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 6:30p.m. Elizabethtown College welcomed back alumnus Alexander Diegel, ‘10 to campus. Sponsored by the Alumni Relations, it was a night of reading, Q-and-A and book signing in the High Library.
After graduating from Etown with a degree in communications, Diegel currently works as a marketing professional, freelance writer and plays rugby.
Returning to the College for Diegel was like one big homecoming.
“It feels like I never left. Everyone is great and it feels amazing to be back. It is wonderful to see the development of the Communications Department and how far communications has come,” Diegel said.
At the event, Diegel gave a brief description about his post-apocalyptic book and dove right into the first chapter.
He brought the story to life by introducing some of the main characters, explaining the plot, the way it puzzled the characters not knowing what was happening, the change in people that were affected, and how people were going to survive.
As he read, other people were following along with their own copy of his story. He broke apart the readings and had time in between for those in attendance to ask any questions.
Diegel also took the opportunity to talk about how he got to where he is today.
For Diegel, writing was always a passion he had ever since he was a little kid. He continued to build up his writing skills by writing about sports for his high school newspaper and writing for the Etownian during his time at Etown; all leading to him writing “Red Night.”
The title of his book “Red Night” symbolizes blood, action and the red along the horizon, all represented in the story. He got most of the insight for his novel from other novels that use foreshadowing, dream sequences and strong imagery. Also, he wanted to show survival and the good and bad within people.
“My inspiration for ‘Red Night’ came when I started having these zombie-apocalyptic dreams and I just started writing,” stated Diegel.
Photo: Michael Wong | Photographer
It was his New Year’s resolution to finish his novel. The process of writing this novel took around five to six years between writing and re-writing and having friends, family, editors and publishers reading through it to give their thoughts on his story.
“With any established writer they will experience self-doubt and writer’s block, but the way to overcome this is having confidence, putting yourself out there, having a strong support system and being able to push through any setback,” he said.
“I thought it was very insightful. It gave me the confidence and courage to keep writing. Overall, I found Alexander Diegel to be a talented genuine writer. Also, he didn’t sugar coat things, whether it was about his writing or his career in marketing and I really respected that,” junior Cameron Wirth said.
This event started after Diegel reached out to Alumni Relations and told them of his recent achievement in publishing his novel.
Executive Director of College Engagement Activities, Mark Clapper communicated with Diegel inviting him to read from his book. He recommended that he talk about his book and speak with the students about how Etown impacted his life after he graduated. Clapper oversees the College’s Alumni relations.
“We love to recognize alumni for their achievements and we love to invite them back onto campus. Our main job is to look for opportunities to build an alumni community,” Clapper said.
“It is our way of thanking alumni for taking the time to enrich the campus with their skills, knowledge and their expertise.”
Another way that alumni are returning to the College is through professors reaching out to Alumni Relations for names of graduates who could come in to speak to their classes, because they know that previous Etown graduates can make a positive impact and offer guidance to the students.
Alumni Relations values the importance of welcoming alumni back on campus to speak to the students.
The impact that the alumni have on the students is amazing showing them how they can take what they learned during their time here at the College and applying that to their desired career.