Every year at Kiski, we promote literacy and drive discussion by assigning a book for the entire school to read. This year our All-School Book is called The New Colossus and it’s written by one of our esteemed alumnus, Dr. Marshall Goldberg ‘64. He attended Kiski during his formative years before attending Harvard College and later Stanford Law School where he gave a valedictory address at graduation.
While Marshall has adopted and excelled at many different roles over the years including working for the Senate, the Justice Department, writing for various TV shows, and teaching law students at the University of Michigan, he still remembers his time at Kiski fondly. As president of Kiski’s Glee Club, he was in charge of arranging dates with girls from other schools for different events.
“That was more power than I’ve ever had in my life,” he said.
Aside from his presidential obligations, Marshall also remembers the camaraderie he felt with the other boys and the amazing teachers who worked at the boarding school.
“I didn’t realize how austere the place was until I left. I got a terrific education there,” he said.
Kiski helped him cultivate a strong sense of character and the instinct to always do the right thing. He also learned the value of hard work and discipline. Kiski taught him to appreciate people different from himself and to value them not for their talent, skills, or power, but for their character.
Character and discipline are two qualities that Marshall shares with the main character in his historical novel, Nellie Bly, who he said is a “Kiski girl” in a lot of ways. After extensive research, Marshall used only real people and events to write a historically accurate narrative on Nellie Bly and America in the Victorian era. Nellie Bly, the pen-name of Elizabeth Cochran Seaman, was an investigative journalist in the late 1800s. As one of the only women in a male-dominated field, she had few advantages when she left her home in what is now Pittsburgh to travel to New York in her early 20s. Despite numerous challenges, within a year Nellie Bly had two front-page stories in the biggest newspaper at the time, New York World. Marshall’s book covers Bly’s investigation of the murder of the poet Emma Lazarus, whose work inspired the title of his novel.
As current Kiski boys read his novel, Marshall hopes they will see their own potential in his accomplishments. He wants them to say “I could do that too,” when they see another Kiski boy’s name on the cover.
“Kiski had a tremendously positive impact on me,” he said. “Would I have been the same had I not gone to Kiski? Would things have worked out for me? I don’t think so.”
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Established in 1888, The Kiski School is one of the oldest, independent, all-boys, college preparatory boarding schools in Pennsylvania and the United States. Home to 200 boys, Kiski offers an academically rigorous curriculum that includes Advanced and Honors courses, 12 varsity sports, and a community that allows boys to thrive through project-based learning and self-discovery. Kiski's beautiful, 350-acre campus is located in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, 30 miles east of Pittsburgh, PA.