One Book events, author on campus today

Lee Betancourt

Villanova’s exploration and celebration of the book “Blood Done Sign My Name” by Timothy Tyson continues today with the author’s visit to campus and a special Southern-style dinner served in all resident dining halls.

Events kick off at 10:30 a.m. with a press conference in Falvey’s Holy Grounds. At 4 p.m. in the Connelly Center Cinema, Tyson will lead a seminar for faculty, “Interrogating Privilege, Power & the University” to connect issues in “Blood Done Sign My Name” with issues found on campuses.

“In choosing this book we hope to open a dialogue on race relations in contemporary America and discuss race relations on campus, too,” One Book tri-chair Tom Mogan said. “We’re looking to talk about the issues of white privilege, and this book shows how this has been an issue throughout history.”

Tyson’s lecture at 7:30 p.m. will be in the Villanova Room in the Connelly Center, simulcast in the Connelly Center Cinema and broadcast on the Villanova Web site, Mogan said.

There will likely also be a podcast so students who are required to watch the lecture can do so even without a ticket to one of the event locations.

Many of these students were required to read Tyson’s book for ACS or another class, tri-chair Teresa Nance said. However, she pointed out that part of what makes the One Book Villanova program unique is that it is not limited only to students.

“Other One Book programs exist, but they’re primarily freshman reading programs,” Nance said. “Here, it’s students, staff and the community, so it’s a very unique program.”

All students received a copy of “Blood Done Sign My Name”; copies were available to alumni and parents, and both Dining Services and Facilities purchased copies for their employees, Nance said.

“The point is to reaffirm Villanova as an intellectual community and a community where people care about ideas and topics and are willing to engage in meaningful conversations,” Nance said.

Both Nance and Mogan said that the book discussion over Parents’ Weekend was memorable.

“The around 100 parents [who came to the discussion] really enjoyed the book,” Mogan said. “That discussion kicked us off and gave us some good momentum.”

Mogan, Nance and John Alouisa, the third tri-chair, led the discussion.

“I’ve had many moving moments at Villanova, but this was one of the most moving,” Nance said. “There was just such a willingness among the parents to say what’s in their heart without worrying about being judged.”

Although the majority of One Book events occur today, Nance said that the committee is still willing to provide discussion facilitators to classes, fraternities, sororities or other groups that wish to discuss the book. They are also willing to put book groups together.

“It’s all about building bridges through reading,” Nance said.

As with last year’s book, “Kite Runner,” used copies of the book will be donated to a public school in Philadelphia.

Plans are already underway for the third year of One Book. Nance said that the committee has narrowed the selection down to six books and should reach a decision by April.

“We’re looking for a book that can be read all across the communities that we serve,” Nance said.