A native of Milwaukee, Maxwell Smith is a junior at the University of Minnesota, and he illustrated MSR.
During the chaos of the last few weeks – I still haven’t had a chance to wrap my head around all that’s transpired recently – I started a post about Max, but I never completed it.
I’ll own that mistake because Max has obviously been a big part of this project.
But let’s start from the beginning: I became acquainted with Max because he was a student in my spring 2014 journalism class at the University of Minnesota. He was responsible, he was thorough, he was attentive, and he was talented.
The type of student I hoped to work with as an adjunct instructor at the University. After the semester, as MSR was coming together, I reached out to him and asked him to email me a rendering of a young athlete looking into a mirror and seeing his adult self.
I didn’t provide any additional details.
Dutifully, Max completed the task and emailed it to me.
Given the target audience for MSR, illustrations are a key part of the book, and Max delivered some outstanding images. Just as he was in class, Max was eager for input, he showcased his creativity, and, above all, he created quality work.
He learned some lessons along the way, but Max pressed forward, always maintaining a positive attitude, qualities that will serve him well for years and years to come.
Seeing him in the classroom and out of the classroom, I can think of no greater compliment to him than this: He’s a throwback! I’m often frustrated with young people who make excuses and seek shortcuts.
Besides his attitude and talent, though, Max is a really, really nice young man, someone I’m sure will succeed, no matter what path he chooses. He wasn’t able to make it to Tuesday’s book launch in Chicago, but he was a vital part of Team MSR.