Each year, the freshman class studies a common reading focusing on issues of social justice, poverty, diversity, or other topic related to the mission of the university. Frequently, the common reading is linked to the freshman day of service, as well as an academic lecture featuring the author of the book.
Common Reading for Fall 2016
The common reading for Fall 2016 is Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This book is a call to arms against the oppression of women and female children around the world. Through the stories of extraordinary women, we learn about the savage indictment of gender inequality in the developing world, as well as these women’s courage, resilience, and struggle for hope and recovery. All freshmen will attend a lecture presented by Nicholas Kristof on October 27, 2016.
Other common reading selections used in past years include:
- Fall 2015 - The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore. This book tells the true story of two young men, both named Wes Moore. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated veteran, White House Fellow and business leader. The other ended up a convicted murderer and is serving a life sentence. How did this happen?
- Fall 2014 - Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shepard. Shepard left home with the clothes on his back, a sleeping bag, and $25.00 in his pocket. At the end of one year, his goal was to have a job, working automobile, furnished apartment, and $25,000 in the bank.
- Fall 2013 – Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel. Patel’s book is his remarkable account of growing up Muslim in America and his belief in religious pluralism. His story is testament to the power and passion of young people and the potential of an interfaith youth movement. All freshmen had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Eboo Patel in September, 2013.
- Fall 2012 – Amazing Grace by Jonathan Kozol. In this book, Kozol shares what it is like to grow up in the South Bronx, the poorest urban neighborhood of the United States. All freshmen had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Jonathan Kozol in October, 2012. The freshman day of service was also linked to this book. Freshman cleaned up city parks in the city of Reading, Pa
- Fall 2011 – Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder. This is the story of Deo, a medical student from Burundi. Deo fled to New York City to escape the violence in Burundi and genocide in Rwanda. His is a story of survival, despair, determination, evil and ultimately, kindness.