MTSU's Community Summer Reading Program was created in 2002 under the direction of Laurie Witherow, the Associate Vice Provost for Admissions and Enrollment Services. The objectives of the program are to:
- provide a unifying experience for the entering class of students,
- partner with Murfreesboro community organizations,
- encourage intellectual interaction among students,
- provide students with the opportunity to read and personally interact with critically-acclaimed authors, and
- affirm the importance of reading for a successful and fulfilling life.
During CUSTOMS, all incoming freshman students receive packets that include a Summer Reading Guide, information about the author, and a list of course sections using the book selection for the Fall. In its first year, over 100 different course sections from three different academic colleges participated, along with six reading groups from the local community! More than 7,000 people attended last Fall's University Convocation where our guest author was invited to speak.
As we approach the summer of 2015, we are excited to announce that this year’s Summer Reading selection will be This I Believe II: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women, edited by Jay Allison. This book is the second installment based on the National Public Radio Series of the same name, This I Believe, and features seventy-five essayists-from the famous to the unknown– completing the thought that begins the book’s title.
With contributors who run the gamut from cellist Yo-Yo Ma, to professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, to Sister Helen Prejean and Robert Fulghum, to ordinary folks like a diner waitress, and Iraq War Veteran, a farmer, a new husband, and many others, This I Believe II is filled with wonderful and surprising essays about forgiveness, personal integrity, and honoring life and change. It is a welcome, stirring, and provocative communion with the minds and hearts of a diverse group of people whose beliefs and the remarkably varied ways in which they choose to express them reveal the American spirit at its best. Jay Allison, the host and curator of This I Believe (II), is an independent broadcast journalist. His work appears often on NPR and has earned him ﬁve Peabody Awards. Since University Convocation was rained out last year, he will be addressing the incoming class at Middle Tennessee State University as our 15th Summer Reading keynote speaker at this year’s Convocation (August 23, 2015 @ 2pm, Murphy Center).
For more information about the MTSU Summer Reading Program, contact Becca Seul via email at Becca.Seul@mtsu.edu or via phone at (615) 494-8910.