Indiana State University Newsroom

‘Hole in the Head' author to kick off University Speakers Series

September 4, 2013

An author who brought attention to experimental radiation treatment on humans in southwestern Indiana will kick off the 2013-14 University Speakers Series at Indiana State University.

Wilbert Smith, who wrote "A Hole in the Head: A Life Revealed," will speak at 7 p.m. Monday (Sept. 9) in Tilson Auditorium. He will discuss the inspirational story of Vertus Hardiman, one of 10 children treated with radiation for scalpel ringworm at a county hospital in Lyles Station, Ind. in 1927.

Smith believes the treatment was an experiment on the effects of radiation on humans. Because Hardiman received more radiation than the other children, he eventually developed a hole in his head. In his book, and in a subsequent documentary, Smith chronicles Hardiman's struggle with his deformity, which he kept hidden for decades by wigs and hats. Yet Hardiman shares his tale without anger or resentment, making "A Hole in the Head" a true story of love and forgiveness.

Smith is director of child development programs for the state of California. He also teaches in the School of Business at Pasadena Community College, owns and operates an insurance agency in Altadena, Calif. and serves on the California Community Colleges Board of Governors.

His appearance at Indiana State is co-sponsored by the department of applied medicine and rehabilitation in the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services. His presentation is free and open to the public.