The Common Reading Program affords students the opportunity of participating in a common curricular experience that creates community and a common ground for discussion. The program is tailored specifically for incoming first year students. Students are expected to have read the book before the first day of class and will join together with faculty and peers to discuss and think critically about key concepts. The Common Reading Program will encourage students to partake in intellectual engagement and will create a sense of community among newly admitted Panthers.

Selection Committe

  • Charlie Andrews, Assistant Vice President, Academic Advising Center
  • Eric Arneson, Assistant VP, Student Affairs
  • Consuelo Boronat, Director, Retention and Graduation Success
  • Ana Correa, Undergraduate Student
  • Paula Gillespie, Director, Center for Excellence in Writing
  • Sarah Hammill, Distance Learning Librarian
  • Douglas Hasty, First-Year Experience Librarian
  • Glenn Hutchinson, Assistant Director, Center for Excellence in Writing
  • Amy Kay, Director, Orientation and Parent Programs
  • Lynne Miller, Associate Professor, Education
  • Valerie Morgan, Director, Undergraduate Education
  • Maria Pulido, Undergraduate Student
  • Jose Rodriguez, Assistant Dean, Honors College
  • Jay Sandhouse, Instructional Technologist
  • Justin Taylor, Graduate Student Assistant
  • Giovanna Tello, Academic Advisor, Undergraduate Education

About the Book (2018-2019)

About the Book
Jim St. Germain – “A Stone of Hope”

Born into abject poverty in Haiti, young Jim St. Germain moved to Brooklyn’s Crown Heights, into an overcrowded apartment with his family. He quickly adapted to street life and began stealing, dealing drugs, and growing increasingly indifferent to despair and violence. By the time he was arrested for dealing crack cocaine, he had been handcuffed more than a dozen times. At the age of fifteen the walls of the system were closing around him.

But instead of prison, St. Germain was placed in “Boys Town,” a nonsecure detention facility designed for rehabilitation. Surrounded by mentors and positive male authority who enforced a system based on structure and privileges rather than intimidation and punishment, St. Germain slowly found his way, eventually getting his GED and graduating from college. Then he made the bravest decision of his life: to live, as an adult, in the projects where he had lost himself, and to work to reform the way the criminal justice system treats at-risk youth.

A Stone of Hope is more than an incredible coming-of-age story; told with a degree of candor that requires the deepest courage, it is also a rallying cry. No one is who they are going to be—or capable of being—at sixteen. St. Germain is living proof of this. He contends that we must work to build a world in which we do not give up on a swath of the next generation.

Jim St. Germain is the co-founder of Preparing Leaders of Tomorrow (PLOT) and is on the Board of the National Juvenile Defender Center and was recently appointed by former President Barack Obama to the Coordinator Council on Juvenile and Justice Delinquency Prevention. For more information, please visit www.plotforyouth.org and www.jimstgermain.com.


A Stone of Hope

Author Interview