Highlights

Speakers for Your First-Year Experience® Program

FacebookTwitterEmailLinkedIn

Hosting the author of the common reading book on campus is often cited as one of the most rewarding parts of first-year programs. Below, we’ve rounded up testimonials for some of our most popular speakers and book selections hosted by programs across the country for their First-Year Experience® events.

Bryan Stevenson

“Oh my goodness. Bryan is an incredible human being. He was an absolute pleasure to work with and he gave 100%+ every moment, at every event and to every person, including the 1000+ members of the community who attended the lecture and Q&A. I’ve been in this business for 15 years and he is at the top of my list along with Dr. Maya Angelou and Yo Yo Ma as people who inspire everyone they come in contact with and who really make this world a better place by merely being alive. It was an honor to be in his company for 6 hours.”— California State University, Chico

Bryan Stevenson

Attorney, human rights activist, Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, and author of Just Mercy


Colson Whitehead

“I’m still basking in the glow of a truly spectacular event! Colson was an enormous hit. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what a gifted speaker he is; honestly, the man could have had a career as a stand-up comedian—his material is strong and timing impeccable! And he reads his work masterfully. Given the disturbing, often grim content of his book, I think it was a welcome surprise to people that he used humor to lead into the evening.  He was engaging and gracious with the people who had books signed. His visit with the undergraduate students was a unique opportunity for them to converse with him about his work, his process, and get his advice.  I know the students were inspired by what he shared about this own journey as a writer and just his overall kindness.”— Butler University

Colson Whitehead

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of The Underground Railroad


Cristina Henríquez

“Having Cristina Henríquez on the Purdue campus for a reading was one of the highlights of the year. Not only is Henríquez an eminently talented writer who imbues her prose with grace and soul, she is a charming, warm, and engaging reader. She had the audience of students, faculty, and community members rapt as she read from her latest novel, The Book of Unknown Americans and after, she led one of the best Q&A sessions I’ve ever attended (and I have attended many). She was able to talk about craft and content with intelligence and humor and we can’t wait to bring her back to campus.”— Roxane Gay, author of Hunger and Associate Professor, Purdue University

Cristina Henríquez

Critically acclaimed author of The Book of Unknown Americans


Edward Humes

“My students and I were thrilled to hear Edward Humes speak at our recent Freshman Convocation ceremony. His examples for being more conscientious consumers were both arresting and relevant to the students’ daily lives. His concern for our planet is both genuine and infectious, and the students came away inspired to examine their own trash-producing behaviors. As a teacher, I am grateful that Ed’s presence lent a personal touch to our classroom explorations of Garbology.  I believe his effect on my students will be long-lasting; they learned that we must not only be better stewards of our precious resources, but we must also spread the word, just as he is doing.”— Debbi Mercado, Lecturer, English and Academic First-Year Experiences, California State University, Northridge

Edward Humes

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Garbology


Emily St. John Mandel

“Everything came together beautifully! The students greeted her as if she was a rock star, her talk was interesting and spell-binding, followed by a good half-hour of eager questioning, all by students. There is no doubt in my mind that Emily’s demeanor and presence made the night. It was wonderful. She is very kind, and showed a lot of stamina and patience.”— St. Michael’s College

Emily St. John Mandel

Author of Station Eleven and 2014 National Book Award finalist


Headed to the 2018 Annual Conference of the First-Year Experience®?

RSVP to a PRH Author Event to meet Francisco CantúOmar El Akkad,  Franklin Foer, Yaa GyasiLauren Markham, Imbolo Mbue, and more.