St. Bonaventure University will welcome author Dr. Tara Westover to campus Wednesday, Sept. 26, to deliver the 2018 All Bonaventure Reads keynote address to the Class of 2022.
The program is open to the public and begins at 7 p.m. in the Reilly Center Arena.
Westover’s memoir, “Educated,” which debuted as a #1 New York Times Best Seller, is the university’s common read for 2018-19.
Westover was born in the mountains of Idaho to a survivalist father who opposed public education and distrusted hospitals. The youngest of seven children, Westover wasn’t put in school. She spent her days working in her father’s junkyard or stewing herbs for her mother, a self-taught herbalist and midwife. When she grew older, seeking to escape a violent older brother, she taught herself algebra and grammar to pass the college admissions exam.
“Rarely, in 13 years of selecting our ABR books, have committee members had a unanimous choice. ‘Educated,’ however, was exactly that,” said Jean Trevarton Ehman, chair of the All Bonaventure Reads Committee.
“We were made aware of ‘Educated’ near its Feb. 20 publication date, then engaged a readership flurry that netted the memoir as ABR 2018. Its interwoven familial and education themes should provide fodder for rich discussions and we are eager to welcome Dr. Westover to St. Bonaventure on Sept. 26,” she said.
At 17, Westover stepped foot into a classroom for the first time as a freshman at Brigham Young University. She pursued her education for a decade, ultimately completed a visiting fellowship at Harvard and earned a Ph.D. in history from the University at Cambridge.
Westover believes that to be educated is not only to be knowledgeable, but also to be curious and to pursue understanding, even of those with whom we disagree.
“I am convinced that no education can be called ‘good’ that does not stir some small capacity for empathy: that ability to imagine, if only for a moment, what it might be like to be someone else — to dream their dreams, walk their path, or worship their god,” she said. “That capacity is the tie that binds us, that affirms our common humanity. Education must deepen that capacity; it must never undermine it.”
As part of the All Bonaventure Reads initiative, first-year students at St. Bonaventure received a copy of “Educated” during Orientation. Students are engaged in conversations about the book’s themes in their first-year seminar course, SBU 101, and various campuswide events during the academic year.
For more information about Westover, visit www.prhspeakers.com.
About the University:The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. 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. Named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition.
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