Tobias Wolff Visit Enhances Shared Reading Experience
The goal of the Common Summer Reading Program is to engage all first-year students in a shared experience; one that Pauline Uchmanowicz, coordinator of the Composition Program, says enhances participation in the intellectual life of the entire campus.
“By encouraging first-year students to engage in critical reading, discussion and thinking about a shared text—whether in classroom or extracurricular settings—the reading initiative invites dialogue among students, as well as between students and faculty,” said Uchmanowicz.
Last summer, incoming first-year students were assigned renowned novelist and memoir writer Tobias Wolff's novel “Old School,” then participated in online discussion and writing assignments, and upon arrival on campus in the fall, had the opportunity to discuss the book with one another, not only in their Composition I classes, but also informally among themselves.
Wolff visited campus on April 1, as the College’s Spring Distinguished Speaker, to discuss “Old School,” further enhancing their shared experience and, as Uchmanowicz believes, helping to form the “cornerstone of their college education.”
Wolff, considered one of the great contemporary masters of the short story, is credited with numerous critically acclaimed works, including “In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War” and “The Barracks Thief.”
He is the Ward W. and Priscilla B. Woods Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, where he has taught classes in English and creative writing since 1997. He also served as the director of the Creative Writing Program at Stanford from 2000 to 2002.
College President Steven Poskanzer said, “Wolff is a superb writer, whose short stories and novels illuminate and challenge his readers. I’ve long been a huge fan of his work and I’m delighted that he will be gracing our campus.”
Wolff was the fourth speaker in the College’s Distinguished Speaker Series. The goal of the Series is to connect community members, alumni, friends, faculty, staff, students and their families with well-known authors, policy makers and leaders, scientists, media experts, business people, and other luminaries, on campus. The College received a generous gift from a donor to underwrite part of this series on campus.
For more information about the Distinguished Speaker Series, please visit www.newpaltz.edu/speakerseries.
For more information about the Common Summer Reading Program, contact Joann K. Deiudicibus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Highlights from the event:
Photos by Danny Wild '06