In the years to come, the University of Georgia community will have the opportunity to read and discuss books that will promote the exchange of diverse ideas through a community reading program. At the recommendation of the Presidential Task Force on Race, Ethnicity, and Community, President Jere W. Morehead has approved a multiyear community reading program that involves a book addressing topics of race, ethnicity and community.
“As we continue our work to create a more welcoming environment at the University of Georgia, this program will open doors for dialogue and understanding,” said Morehead. “These readings will provide a foundation to launch meaningful discussions on the important topics that the books will explore.”
This will be a voluntary, opt-in program for students, faculty, staff and alumni. Participants will be encouraged to read the selected books and take part in discussions and campus events.
“As an institution of higher education, UGA can model the power of the written word to stimulate discussion across disciplines and to introduce our community to diverse viewpoints,” said Usha Rodrigues, University Professor and M.E. Kilpatrick Chair of Corporate Finance and Securities Law and member of the Presidential Task Force on Race, Ethnicity, and Community.
Common reading programs have been known to provide structured engagement opportunities for students. The most impactful outcomes of these campus-wide efforts will be the organic conversations that will take place at dining hall tables, residence hall lobbies, or other places where students thrive,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Chair of the Presidential Task Force on Race, Ethnicity, and Community Victor K. Wilson. “I look forward to the ways that we will be able to infuse the readings into the ongoing programming for students planned across campus.”
The first book that will be featured is “In My Place,” by Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist, author and iconic alumna of the University of Georgia. The institution is currently celebrating the 60th anniversary of when she, alongside the late Dr. Hamilton E. Holmes, became the first Black students to attend UGA.
“It is such a joy to participate in the discussion of my book, ‘In My Place.’ I look forward to sharing not just my story but the story of all who helped me do what I was born and raised to do,” said Hunter-Gault. “I also hope it will help inspire still another generation to meet life’s never-ending challenges with the confidence that they can overcome and contribute to helping create a better world.”
In conjunction with the Between the Pages book club hosted by the UGA Alumni Association, there will be a virtual book discussion with Hunter-Gault on March 24. The Student Alumni Council will work to distribute 500 free copies of the book in early February. These books will be made available through private funds from the Georgia Athletic Association earmarked for recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on Race, Ethnicity, and Community.