Speaking of Love

Back in 1980 or 1981 I had the tremendous good fortune to hear a lecture by Dr. Leo Buscaglia.  I was living in Albuquerque at the time and he was there one night speaking about love and he usually did. A friend asked me to go to the lecture and to this day I’m glad I did.

Since that time, I’ve listened to many of the tapes of Dr. Buscaglia’s lectures, seen them on PBS, and I’ve read his books.  He was one of those truly inspirational figures who made a huge impact on and difference in the world.  It would be impossible to count the number of people who were and continue to be influenced by him.

Who Was Dr. Leo Buscaglia?

If you’re not familiar with Leo Buscaglia, he taught in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California.  While teaching there in the late 1960s, one of his students committed suicide.  The girl’s suicide led him to begin teaching a non-credit class called Love 1A.  He actually said that he never taught the class but merely facilitated it.

As a result of the class he went on to write a number of books and gave lectures around the world.  In addition to his talks on love and human relationships, he emphasized the value of positive human touch.  This led to a practice of Dr. Buscaglia staying around after his lectures to hug any of those in attendance.  It was commonplace for him to speak for an hour and then spend twice that long giving hugs to thousands of people who waited patiently in line.  When I heard him speak in Albuquerque, I made sure that I was one of the people in that line.

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Sadly, Leo Buscaglia died of a heart attack in 1998 at his home near Lake Tahoe.  He was 74.


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