Globally renowned neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor—known as “Dr. Jill”—will deliver the keynote address at Butler University’s 2016 Commencement ceremony on May 7 at 10:00 AM in Hinkle Fieldhouse. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.
Dr. Jill’s 2008 TED Talk was the first TED presentation to go viral, and remains among the top five TED talks of all time. In this moving talk, Dr. Jill explains the experience of her own stroke, an arterio-venous malformation, at age 37.
On the morning of her stroke, December 10, 1996, Dr. Jill was already a successful and prolific brain scientist focused on severe mental illness. Because of her understanding of the brain, she was able to study the effects of the stroke on her own body, in real time, as she suffered them. Further, in the midst of her own near-death experience, she was inspired to recover so that she could help others heal from severe brain trauma. It took Dr. Jill eight years to fully regain her neurological and physical abilities—including how to talk and walk.
Dr. Jill’s memoir, My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey, spent 17 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and is now available in 30 languages. Her rare and inspirational story has led to many accolades, including a place as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2008.
She serves as the National Spokesperson for the Harvard Brain Tissue Resource Center (Harvard Brain Bank); CEO of My Stroke of Insight, Inc., and Chair of the Board of the not-for-profit Jill Bolte Taylor BRAINS, Inc. Further, she has continued her active membership in NAMI (the National Alliance on Mental Illness) since 1993.
Dr. Jill speaks at conferences and events worldwide. In addition to sharing her personal story, she enjoys speaking to audiences about their own brains—especially the differences between their right and left “hemisphere personalities.” Building a healthy relationship between the two, she asserts, can help forge a path to peace within ourselves and throughout the world. It can also help us discover new things about our own interests and abilities.
Dr. Jill herself, when her left hemisphere was compromised, experienced a right-hemisphere renaissance that resulted in a new artistic endeavor: the creation of colorful, anatomically correct stained glass brains.