Editor of first-year summer reading book to address New Kensington students

Dan Gediman, co-editor of “This I Believe: Life Lessons,” the selected book for first-year students at Penn State New Kensington, brings the core values of regular people to the campus at noon Wednesday, Sept. 24, in the campus’ Forum Theatre.

Gediman’s book is a collection of 60 essays of insights from personal experiences. Whether it’s learning the power of saying hello, listening to your inner voice, or discovering the strength that comes from tragedy, the intimate reflections are designed to inspire, move, and encourage the reader.

A part of the “This I Believe” series, the book features essays and statements of belief by young people and adults from all walks of life. The first book of the series, "This I Believe," was published in 2006 and became a New York Times bestseller in paperback. "This I Believe II," was published in 2008. Two years later, a new series of books was published, each on a particular theme: "This I Believe: On Love" (2010), "This I Believe: On Fatherhood" (2011), "This I Believe: Life Lessons" (2011), and "This I Believe: On Motherhood" (2012).

Gediman is executive director of This I Believe Inc., a nonprofit organization that engages people in writing and sharing stories of their core values. The short statements of belief have been featured on NPR since 2005. His work has been heard on numerous radio programs, including “All Things Considered” and “This American Life.” Gediman won an Alfred I. DuPont–Columbia University Award, which honors excellence in television, radio, and digital journalism. Along with the George A. Peabody award, the DuPont-Coumbia award is one of the top honors in the electronic industry.

In conjunction with Gediman’s visit, students can submit their personal stories for a campus-wide "This I Believe" essay contest. The 350-500-word essays should tell a story that illustrates how a student’s personal beliefs were shaped. The contest is not designed to be an editorial piece about a current event. Guidelines can be found at on Blissell Library’s website, http://www.libraries.psu.edu/psul/newkensington/about/thisibelieve.html. Essays should be submitted by Sept. 30 to Jennifer Gilley, head librarian, jrg15@psu.edu. The committee of Lois Rubin, associate professor of English, Laurie Durzo, instructor in English and comparative literature, and Gilley, will judge the essays. The winning student earns a $100 gift certificate to the campus bookstore. The runner-up receives a $50 gift certificate, and the third-place student gets a $25 certificate.

The First-Year Summer Reading Program was instituted at the campus in 2005 to encourage reading and critical thinking and to provide a shared experience among new students. First-year students at the campus have a homework assignment over the summer -- read a book, chosen by a committee of campus faculty/staff/students and prepare to discuss it during orientation. Small group discussions are slated with fellow students, faculty and staff throughout the fall semester.

Gediman is the fifth author of a selected book to speak at the campus. Tamara Draut, who wrote, "Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead," talked with students in 2006. Bill Strickland, author of "Make the Impossible Possible: One Man's Crusade to Inspire Others to Dream Bigger and Achieve the Extraordinary," spoke on campus in 2010. Robin Wiszowaty, author of "My Maasai Life: From Suburbia to Savannah," was at the campus in 2011. Tony Hawk talked about his “Round Ireland with a Fridge” book in 2012.

For more information on Gediman’s talk, contact Theresa Bonk at 724-334-6061 or tab19@psu.edu

For more about the author and the book, visit http://thisibelieve.org/

For more about the First-Year Summer reading program, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/StudentLife/summerreading.htm

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Last Updated January 09, 2015