Author Tracy Kidder Invited to Speak at Academic Convocation

Tue Oct 1, 2013

Tracy Kidder, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the Elms College First Year Seminar common read Strength in What Remains, has been invited to speak at this year’s Academic Convocation at 4 p.m. on October 16. Kidder is the author of many influential nonfiction books including The Soul of a New Machine in 1981 and Mountains Beyond Mountains in 2003.

Kidder’s book, Strength in What Remains was chosen for the First Year Seminar common read not only because it is a contemporary reflection of Catholic social teaching with an underpinning of solidarity, but because it speaks to a modern global perspective about immigration. “We picked something on immigration because immigration is an important issue in politics right now,” expressed Carol Allan, SSJ, director of campus ministry.

While this year does not mark the first year that the campus has participated in a common reading program, First Year Seminar faculty have noticed more student engagement than any other year. Created and refined by a collaborative effort on behalf of Elms College faculty and staff, the common read program now includes a set of goals and discussion questions developed by First Year Seminar instructors to bolster a dialogue about the book’s themes and how they apply to the world.

“The students really have liked the book. The response has been very good–I think having the author (speak on campus) makes all of the difference, “ commented Sr. Carol. Excitement about the book and author’s visit has been contagious, but according to Sr. Carol, it is all part of the plan: “If you can get the instructors geared up about the book, they can get the students all geared up about the book too.”

Academic Convocation is being held during the week of celebrations related to the dedication of the Center for Natural and Health Sciences.