Dan Gasby to keynote MVSU Graduate Read-In Symposium Nov. 19

November 8, 2019

ITTA BENA, Miss.—Author and Alzheimer’s advocate Dan Gasby will be on the campus of Mississippi Valley State University to give a keynote address on Alzheimer’s disease during the Fall 2019 Graduate Read-In Research Symposium. 

The symposium will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the Mary E. Crump Auditorium of the MVSU Science and Technology Center. The event will be preluded with a research poster session at 6 p.m. in the lobby of the Science and Technology Center. ​

The event is free and open to the general public.​

Organizer Dr. Abigail Newsome, coordinator of MVSU’s Bioinformatics graduate program, said the symposium will cap off Graduate Read-In activities hosted throughout the semester.​

"The Graduate Read-In Research Symposium is a culmination of activities that the graduate programs have participated in this semester," explained Newsome. “Each year we come together to read a book and discuss a research topic of common interest to all the programs.” ​

This semester’s book, “Before I Forget”, was co-authored by Gasby along with his wife, B. Smith, and Vanity Fair's Michael Shnayerson. The book has served as the core of this semester’s Graduate Read-In, which brings together graduate students across disciplines to explore the selected topic. 

Gasby is the co-founder of the B. Smith brand along with his wife and business partner, the American chef, supermodel, and lifestyle maven B. Smith. The two had a promising future until Smith was unexpectedly diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in 2013.

At its heart, a love story, “Before I Forget” illuminates a love of family, life, and hope. It offers practical and helpful advice for dealing with Alzheimer's day-to-day challenges, including ways of coping, information about promising research and lessons the family has learned along the way.​

“Alzheimer’s can be dissected from a wide-array of perspectives. It’s also a disease that affects the lives of many individuals within our community,” said Newsome.

She said the goal to help educate the campus and community about the tragic disease. 

"This year's event will end with informative poster presentations on Alzheimer's and the author giving an address,” said Newsome. “We're trying to promote holistic education. Reading books has been our method of creating that experience for our students." ​

Gasby and Smith have collaborated over the years with B. Smith magazines, television shows, restaurants, and books. The first was B. Smith with Style,” a weekly syndicated lifestyle program. Then came B. Smith Style” magazine, and three highly successful books on entertaining. B. Smith's restaurants were among the first to attract a completely diverse clientele. They were famous watering holes amongst celeb A-listers and high-profile tastemakers in the highly competitive markets of Manhattan, Sag Harbor, New York, and Washington, DC. Unfortunately, because of Smith's early-onset Alzheimer's, the restaurants have closed. ​

As a spokesperson for Alzheimer's awareness, Gasby works particularly for a greater understanding of the enormous challenges faced by Alzheimer's caregivers. In 2017, he was instrumental in bringing about the Alzheimer's Semipostal Fundraising stamp. He appeared with Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan and The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) for the first day-of-issue dedication ceremony at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore.​

He was the keynote speaker as the recipient of the 2017 Public Leadership in Neurology Award hosted by The American Academy of Neurology (The AAN) and The American Brain Foundation (The ABF). He is a board director, The American Brain Foundation, and partnered with AARP to present a caregiving webinar. ​

MVSU’s Fall 2019 Graduate Read-In is supported by funds from the New Masters grant made possible by the U.S. Department of Education.