Author, inspirational speaker David Magee to visit, lecture on addiction

Author David Magee will give a lecture on Thursday about the impact of addiction and his experience with addiction. Photo courtesy of David Magee

By Luke Araujo | Staff Writer

Across two events, David Magee will speak about addiction, recovery and his personal experiences with both situations to Waco residents and Baylor students. Magee’s speaking events will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday at Fabled Bookshop & Cafe and noon Thursday at the Bill Daniel Student Center.

David is the author of “Dear William,” co-creator of The William Magee Center for AOD and Wellness Education and co-creator of The William Magee Institute for Student Wellbeing.

David became an inspirational speaker and addiction recovery advocate after the passing of his son, William Magee — an “exceptional student and track star” who died of an accidental overdose after battling with a drug addiction that began in high school. The William Magee Center was founded in dedication to his late son.

“My story is a family story,” David said. “It revolves around the college community and the college town. That is one of the attractions for the Baylor experience — common ground.”

After the creation of The William Magee Center in 2019, David co-created The William Magee Institute in 2020 to support students in developing their personal strengths. Since its inception, The William Magee Institute has hosted numerous focus groups, thinking panels and one-on-one interviews collecting information on what people need to feel supported.

“We are really trying to make sure we understand people’s needs,” Meagen Rosenthal, executive director of The William Magee Institute, said. “My intention with this work is to ensure the institute is meeting community-driven needs — not Meagen’s idea of what it should be, but what folks are interested in and in need of.”

After facing unimaginable hardship, David said he has made it his mission to speak about the beauty of recovery. He was inspired to do so after the recovery of his other son, Hudson Magee, who was found nearly dead in a fraternity house due to a substance-related incident. Hudson is now 10 years sober and has found success in business and family life.

David said he also fought a battle of addiction with both alcohol and prescription Adderall. His daughter, Mary Magee, had her own battle with an eating disorder.

“Our whole family was shattered by mental health and addiction,” David said. “We lost our son, but I decided if our family put ourselves back together again, it was important that we start telling our story.”

As a result, David started speaking within his local community after writing a column about his late son’s death. A grassroots movement was started asking for the creation of The William Magee Center on the University of Mississippi campus, and from there, David said he began his journey of advocating for recovery and resilience.

The story of David came to Baylor’s attention when the owner of Fabled Bookshop & Cafe read “Dear William,” in which they saw themes of “family, faith, college towns and college communities.”

“I have been moved by the commitment of students and the opportunities that have been set up for me and my family to come in and engage with,” David said. “Baylor is a university with a foundation in faith, and that is so important in this journey of student health and well-being. I am excited to get there, to engage and learn, and to share everything we can to help in that journey.”