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Virtual FAN Event with Robert Kolker on March 10

March 4, 2021  10:50am CT


Virtual FAN Event on March 10, 2021
Robert Kolker and Andrew Solomon, Ph.D.
(image from


“Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family,” a conversation between Robert Kolker and Andrew Solomon, Ph.D., will be held on Wednesday, March 10, beginning at 7:00pm via Zoom. The event is free and open to the public, suitable for ages 12 and up. Registration is required.


Don and Mimi Galvin seemed to be living the American dream. After World War II, Don’s work with the Air Force brought them to Colorado, where their twelve children perfectly spanned the baby boom: the oldest born in 1945, the youngest in 1965. In those years, there was an established script for a family like the Galvins–aspiration, hard work, upward mobility, domestic harmony–and they worked hard to play their parts. But behind the scenes was a different story: psychological breakdown, sudden shocking violence, hidden abuse. By the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys, one after another, were diagnosed as schizophrenic. How could all this happen to one family?


What took place inside the house on Hidden Valley Road was so extraordinary that the Galvins became one of the first families to be studied by the National Institute of Mental Health. Their story offers a shadow history of the science of schizophrenia, from the era of institutionalization, lobotomy, and the schizophrenogenic mother to the search for genetic markers for the disease, always amid profound disagreements about the nature of the illness itself. And unbeknownst to the Galvins, samples of their DNA informed decades of genetic research that continues today, offering paths to treatment, prediction, and even eradication of the disease for future generations.

In his #1 New York Times bestseller and Oprah’s Book Club selection Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family, Robert Kolker uncovers one family’s unforgettable legacy of suffering, love, and hope. Mr. Kolker’s 2013 book Lost Girls was adapted for a feature film released by Netflix in 2020. As a journalist, his work has appeared in New York magazine, Bloomberg BusinessweekThe New York Times MagazineWired, GQ, O Magazine, and Men’s Journal. He is a National Magazine Award finalist and a recipient of the 2011 Harry Frank Guggenheim Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice Reporting from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.


Mr. Kolker will be in conversation with FAN favorite Andrew Solomon, Ph.D. (FAN ’13, ’14, and ’15), a writer and lecturer on politics, culture, and psychology; a professor of clinical medical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center; and the former president of PEN America. Prof. Solomon is the author of several books, among them Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity and The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression.


The March 10 webinar is sponsored by Family Action Network (FAN), in partnership with Evanston Township High School D202, Baker Demonstration School, Compass Health Center, Family Institute at Northwestern University, Fusion Academy, Glencoe D35, Haven Youth and Family Services, Loyola Academy, Magnetar Capital, New Trier High School D203, North Shore Country Day School, Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy, Regina Dominican College Preparatory High School, Roycemore School, Stevenson High School D125, VillageMD, Wintrust Bank, and Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart.


The event will be recorded and available later on FAN’s website and YouTube channel. A bonus after-hours event is also available to webinar attendees. For more information, visit