The St. Bonaventure University community will welcome social entrepreneur and author Adam Braun to campus Monday, Sept. 29. Braun’s memoir, “The Promise of a Pencil” is this year’s All Bonaventure Reads selection for new students.
Released in March, “The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change,” chronicles Braun’s journey to find his calling. Each chapter describes “one clear step that every person can take to turn your biggest ambitions into reality.” For Braun, that meant taking a leap of faith to give up a job in high finance to found PencilsofPromise.org in 2008.
Braun’s approach that blends nonprofit idealism with for-profit business principles has led Pencils of Promise to successfully break ground on more than 200 schools in some of the poorest regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The organization has also expanded to offer scholarships for students to attend school, teacher training, and water and health programs to keep students healthy.
During his Sept. 29 campus visit, Braun will be welcomed into classrooms and small-group discussions throughout the day. He’ll talk about profit and passion with freshmen and faculty from the School of Business; writing and publishing with freshman journalism students; and global education with freshman education students and faculty.
Braun will address the Class of 2018 during a 7 p.m. program in the Reilly Center Arena. The talk is free and open to the public. Afterward, Braun will sign books in the University Bookstore.
“‘The Promise of a Pencil’ resonated with the Class of 2018 and St. Bonaventure community members, especially by Adam Braun’s literary technique of titling each chapter with a lesson he has learned,” said Jean Trevarton Ehman, director of the university’s Teaching and Learning Center and chair of the All Bonaventure Reads Committee. “We selected the title of ‘Promise’s’ epilogue as our Class of 2018 mantra: ‘Make Your Life a Story Worth Telling,’ as we thought it matched our Franciscan values plus would capture the enthusiasm of our college freshmen.”
First-year students were given copies of “The Promise of a Pencil” during summer orientation and asked to read the book prior to the start of the fall semester. Students are engaged in conversations about the book’s themes in their University 101 course and various campuswide events during the 2014-2015 academic year. University 101: Skills for the Good Journey is a one-credit course for all first-year students that helps them make the most of their freshman year. It combines specific academic topics, general study skills and content from the All Bonaventure Reads text.
Chris Brown, director of the university’s First-Year Experience program, has been struck by the way St. Bonaventure students have embraced the book’s theme to search for purpose in their lives.
“In my UNIV 101 class, many students are exploring their passion for their chosen fields and critically examining why they have decided to embark on their current journey,” Brown said. “They are embracing the importance of discovering purpose and passion while establishing the foundations for a truly happy life.”
In conjunction with the All Bonaventure Reads program, The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at the university is hosting an interactive “All Bona Reads” exhibition that addresses cross-cultural connections and how a freshman at SBU can get involved. In addition, as part of a Freshman Day of Service, incoming students brought in school supplies and assembled packs for refugee children being served by Saint’s Place in Rochester.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
St. Bonaventure University has selected “Educated: A Memoir” by Dr. Tara Westover as its All Bonaventure Reads (ABR) book for 2018-19.
“Educated” is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty, and of the grief that comes from severing one’s closest ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes, and the will to change it.
The university will welcome Westover to campus Wednesday, Sept. 26, to deliver a keynote address to members of the Class of 2022. The talk will be open to the public and will be held at 7 p.m. in the Reilly Center Arena.
As part of the All Bonaventure Reads initiative, first-year students at St. Bonaventure will receive a copy of “Educated” during Orientation and be asked to read the book and write an essay reflecting on it as their first college assignment. Students will be engaged in conversations about the book’s themes in their first-year seminar course, SBU 101, and various campuswide events during the upcoming academic year.
"Tara Westover’s one-of-a-kind memoir is about the shaping of a mind…In briskly paced prose, she evokes a childhood that completely defined her. Yet it was also, she gradually sensed, deforming her."
"A coming-of-age memoir reminiscent of The Glass Castle."
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