The Girls from Ames

Jeffrey Zaslow

Thursday, 23 Apr 2009 at 8:00 pm – Sun Room, Memorial Union

Jeffrey Zaslow, Wall Street Journal columnist and coauthor of The Last Lecture, introduces us to The Girls from Ames in his new book, the true story of a group of ordinary women who built an extraordinary friendship. Eleven childhood friends, now in their forties, formed a special bond growing up in Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eight different states, yet managed to maintain an enduring friendship that is a testament to the deep bonds women form as they experience life’s joys and challenges, triumphing over heartbreak and unexpected tragedy. This book also illustrates how close female relationships can shape every aspect of women’s lives – their sense of themselves, their choice of men, their need for validation, their relationships with their mothers, their dreams for their daughters – and reveals how such friendships thrive, rewarding those who have committed to them. Learn more at
Jeffrey Zaslow is a senior writer and columnist for The Wall Street Journal. His column, "Moving On," focuses on life transitions -- whether losing a loved one, changing jobs, getting married, moving into retirement, or handling success or failure. In that column he wrote about attending the last lecture - "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams" - by Carnegie Mellon computer science professor Randy Pausch who had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Zaslow then coauthored the international bestseller The Last Lecture.

In 2003, Mr. Zaslow's "Moving On" column was named best general interest column among newspapers with more than 100,000 circulation in a contest sponsored by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

Mr. Zaslow had previously worked at the Journal from 1983 to 1987, when he wrote a front-page feature about a competition to replace Ann Landers at the Chicago Sun-Times. He entered to get an angle for his story, and won the job over 12,000 other applicants. He then worked as a columnist at the Sun-Times from 1987 to 2001.

In 2000, Mr. Zaslow received the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award, given to a newspaper columnist who exemplifies the ideals and public service work of the noted humorist and columnist. He was honored for using his column to run programs that benefited 47,000 disadvantaged Chicago children, and for raising millions of dollars for Chicago charities. Also, his annual singles party for charity, "Zazz Bash," drew 7,000 readers a year and resulted in 78 marriages.

From 1994 to 2002, Mr. Zaslow was also a columnist for USA Weekend, the Sunday supplement in 550 newspapers. His family columns have appeared in TIME magazine, and his many TV appearances have included "The Tonight Show," "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "Larry King Live" and "The Today Show.

Cosponsored By:
  • Ames Public Library
  • Committee on Lectures (funded by Student Government)

Stay for the entire event, including the brief question-and-answer session that follows the formal presentation. Most events run 75 minutes.

Sign-ins are after the event concludes. For lectures in the Memorial Union, go to the information desk in the Main Lounge. In other academic buildings, look for signage outside the auditorium.

Lecture Etiquette

  • Stay for the entire lecture and the brief audience Q&A. If a student needs to leave early, he or she should sit near the back and exit discreetly.
  • Do not bring food or uncovered drinks into the lecture.
  • Check with Lectures staff before taking photographs or recording any portion of the event. There are often restrictions. Cell phones, tablets and laptops may be used to take notes or for class assignments.
  • Keep questions or comments brief and concise to allow as many as possible.