USJ Students and Faculty Begin Common Read

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USJ Students and Faculty Begin Common Read

common-read-350x233.jpgThe University of Saint Joseph hosted “Digging into the Common Read” on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017 in the McGovern Dining Hall. The idea behind Common Read is to foster a love of reading and a greater sense of community through the shared experience of reading the same book – one that brings about critical thinking, conversation, and involvement by all members of the USJ community.

This year’s choice is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The book centers around an African-American woman named Henrietta Lacks in the 1950s. While receiving treatment for cervical cancer, doctors took her cells without her knowledge. Her cells, known as HeLa to scientists, were essential in developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Her family was unaware of this for 25 years and did not receive compensation.

Friday’s event featured University of Saint Joseph Assistant Provost for Student Success and Retention Tami Fagan, Ed.D., as the keynote speaker. The Common Read succeeded in resonating with the Mercy Core Values and the University mission – from commitment to women and diversity to integrity and more. The discussion also brought up if the Lacks family should be compensated, if it was ethical for doctors to use her cells, and what the author hoped to accomplish by writing this book.

If this captures your interest, it’s not too late to join the conversation! We have many more events this semester that discuss the ideas, themes, and lessons from the book. All USJ students, parents, faculty, and staff are encouraged to attend. Voice your opinions at one of our events or share your thoughts on social media via #USJReads.

Other Events Include:

  • Henrietta Lacks:  A Mercy Core Values Perspective
    Sept. 6 & 7, 12–1 p.m.
    Library Classroom
    Led by Antoinette Collins and Renee Lavoie

    Come grab a free bookmark and dessert and join the conversation about the relationship between Henrietta Lacks and USJ’s Mercy Core Values.
  • Henrietta Lacks, the Mother of Modern Science
    Oct. 4 & 5, 12–1 p.m.
    Library Classroom
  • Dinner Panel Discussion
    Between the Lines: Deepening our Understanding of Henrietta’s Life and Her Cells
    Sept. 13, 5:30 p.m.
    McGovern Café and via Facebook Livestream

    Join professors Nancy Billias, Lucinda Canty, Catherine Hoyser, and Irene Reed for dinner and a Common Read panel discussion. A reduced-price dinner will be available by Café Bon Appetit.
  • Lunch and Learn
    Hands on HeLa Cells: A Lab Investigation of Immortalized Cancer Cells
    Nov. 8, 12–1 p.m.
    McDonough Hall, Room 101

    Interested in learning more about the science behind Henrietta Lacks’ story? Participate in a lab activity during a lunch and learn session.