Case Western Reserve University's common reading selection—and its annual Fall Convocation speaker—for 2008 will help kick off the university's yearlong celebration of Charles Darwin.
To mark the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth (February 12, 1809)—and the 150th anniversary of the publication (November 24, 1859) of his influential book On the Origin of Species—the university will pay tribute to the British naturalist with a university-wide celebration from fall 2008 to summer 2009.
In keeping with this theme, the 2008 Common Reading Selection Committee has chosen The Reluctant Mr. Darwin: An Intimate Portrait of Charles Darwin and the Making of His Theory of Evolution by David Quammen as the assigned summer reading for all new undergraduate students.
Quammen also will be the featured speakers at the university's Fall Convocation, the first, formal celebration to kick off the new academic year, on August 28 in Severance Hall.
In his book, Quammen sketches a vivid life portrait of Darwin and his reluctance to publish his controversial theory of evolution.
The book will be distributed to new undergraduate students this summer. In addition, faculty will be encouraged to consider the reading—and the Darwin Bicentennial—in designing course curricula for the coming academic year.
The annual common reading program also includes an essay contest for new students.
Additional information on the Year of Darwin celebration is forthcoming.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.