USD Invites the Public to Get Involved with "The Big Read"

The University of San Diego invites the San Diego community to join a national book club designed to restore reading to the center of American culture. USD, in partnership with the Black Storytellers of San Diego, Inc., hosts The Big Read, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

USD is among hundreds of groups nationwide participating in The Big Read program. From Oct. 19 through Nov. 13, the USD community will come together for “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest J. Gaines with a full calendar of events, including a keynote address by noted author Sister Helen Prejean on Nov. 5. Sister Prejean began her prison ministry in 1981 when she dedicated her life to the poor of New Orleans. While living in the St. Thomas housing project, she became pen pals with a convicted killer, sentenced to die in the electric chair of Louisiana’s Angola State Prison.  Her first book, “Dead Man Walking” was on the New York Times bestseller list for 31 weeks. It was also on the international bestseller list and was developed into a major motion picture starring Susan Sarandon as Sister Prejean and Sean Penn as a death row inmate. The title of her keynote address is “Dead Man Walking – The Journey Continues.”

Book discussions and events will be held on the following dates:

• Monday, Oct. 19, Book Discussion, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Hahn University Center Forum A

• Friday, Oct. 23, Book Discussion, 12 to 1:30 p.m., USD Bookstore

• Tuesday, Oct. 27, Movie Night, 7 p.m. viewing of A Lesson Before Dying, Executive Classroom of Mother Rosalie Hill Hall

• Nov. 5, Keynote Address, 6:30 to 9 p.m., Sister Helen Prejean, author of “Dead Man Walking,” and “The Death of Innocents: An Eyewitness Account of Wrongful Executions,” Shiley Theater

• Nov. 13, Panel Discussion, 3 to 5 p.m., with USD professors and guests, Salomon Hall

Books may be purchased at the USD Bookstore or borrowed from the Copley Library, Student Leadership and Involvement Center, office of Human Resources, Center for Educational Excellence or the English Department.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, or to register for either of these events, contact The Center for Educational Excellence at (619) 260-7402 or go to

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls approximately 7,800 undergraduate and graduate students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, the formation of values and community service. The fall 2007 establishment of the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies brings the University’s total number of schools and colleges to six. Other academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences and the schools of Business Administration, Leadership and Education Sciences, Law and Nursing and Health Sciences.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 9,000 students from 69 countries and 50 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. The university's eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD's Envisioning 2024 strategic plan capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.