Summer Reading Program


 Dave Isay

Callings: The Purpose and Passion of WOrk by Dave Isay

The first-year common read for 2018 is Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work by Dave Isay.  Callings is a collection of conversations about work and vocation from the StoryCorps project, whose mission is “to record, preserve and share stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs.”  Through StoryCorps, over 75,000 oral histories by ordinary Americans have been recorded and preserved at the Library of Congress. 

A radio producer and the founder of StoryCorps, Dave Isay has won numerous awards for his work, including four Peabody Awards and a MacArthur “Genius” grant.   In 2015, Isay received the $1 Million TED Prize, which led to the creation of a StoryCorps app that allows anyone with a smartphone to record an interview and upload it to the Library of Congress. In addition to Callings, he has edited four other volumes of stories:  Listening is an Act of Love, Ties that Bind, All There Is, and Mom: A Celebration of Mothers.

We are excited to discuss this book with students early in their college careers as they begin to discern their own callings, and we hope that it will foster campus-wide conversation, not only about work, but also about the importance of sharing and listening to each other’s stories. All first-year students will receive the book at SOAR in June.  During Viking Venture, students will join their first-year seminar classmates, instructor and mentor to discuss the book over dinner, usually in the instructor’s home.  Dave Isay will deliver the Conson Wilson lecture on September 6, 2018 at 7:30 in the Cage Center Arena.