Former Major League Baseball pitcher, international business executive, and author John Trautwein will present “A Positive Passion & Will” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, in Redbird Arena. This talk is sponsored by the Office of the President, Illinois State Athletics, and State Farm.

image of John Trautwein

John Trautwein as a player for the Boston Red Sox.

By telling the story about losing his teenage son, Will, to suicide in 2010, John Trautwein focuses on what he learned as a grieving parent who was unaware of the issues that faced his child and still burden millions of teens today. He and his wife, Susie, have become a positive force for change through the Will To Live Foundation, a nonprofit they created after losing Will during his freshman year of high school. More than $1 million has been raised through the organization to prevent teen suicide by raising awareness and education about mental health.

A native of the Chicago area and now president of the global IT company Source Support Services, headquartered in the Atlanta, Trautwein’s passion is to raise teen suicide awareness. One solution he promotes is to create “life teammate bonds” between the people in one’s life who are there for each other to provide love and hope.

The work of Trautwein and his wife has garnered national media attention and accolades. In 2011 they received former President George H. W. Bush’s Daily Point of Light Award for their foundation work and their ability to turn the tragedy of their son’s death into a positive message that inspires others. Their story has also been shared through Trautwein’s book, My Living Will—A Father’s Story of Loss & Hope.

The talk is part of the Illinois State University Speaker Series. The series seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process. All talks are free and open to the public.