BOOK BIZ: Robert Khayat’s life has had many twists and turns
by Lynn Lofton
Published: August 30,2013
Former Ole Miss chancellor Robert Khayat has written his memoirs and dedicated the book to his family and Ole Miss. He distinguished himself on various fronts that
included being an All-American football and baseball player at Ole Miss during his undergraduate years. He went on to become an All-Pro kicker for the Washington Redskins, earn a degree from Yale and serve as a law professor and president of the NCAA Foundation. He also received the NFL Lifetime Achievement Award and the National Football Foundation Distinguished American Award. Undoubtedly, his life’s education has come from many fronts and his memories are rich and plentiful.
The 300-page book has lots of photos, too. Khayat expresses his thanks to readers for sharing his personal journey. He writes, “Through the years, I have felt a deep frustration with my inability to express to God, family and friends my gratitude for this wonderful life. Perhaps by reducing the story to writing, that need to say thank you will finally be satisfied.”
The author says when he looks back on his life — the sacred places he’s been, the fascinating people he’s encountered, and the challenges God assembled for him — he is humbled and profoundly grateful.
Publisher Neil White is excited to introduce Khayat’s book. “In 1962, while a riot was in full swing on the University of Mississippi campus over the admission of James Meredith, Robert Khayat was an All-Pro kicker for the newly integrated Washington Redskins,” White writes. “He had no way of knowing that 35 years later he would be leading the University through one of its greatest challenges — its association with the Confederate flag.”
It’s a compelling memoir beginning with his early days in Moss Point, the state’s segregationist policies that prevented his SEC championship baseball team from playing in the College World Series, and the sadness of watching his father’s arrest. These seemingly disparate events worked to prepare him for his future battle with the vestiges of racial strife that continued to haunt Ole Miss’ culture as he accepted the honor of becoming the 15th chancellor.
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