All incoming first-year students are assigned to read the book before fall classes begin, and it will be used during instruction in Intersections, Central’s required first-year course. Intersections asks students to study human nature through various perspectives.
“The common reading program at Central College began in 2008 and has become a staple of the first-year experience,” said Jeremy Siefken, director of student involvement and first-year class director. “The goal of the program at Central is to model intellectual engagement and to develop a communal experience among our first-year students, orientation leaders, faculty, staff and the rest of the campus community.”
Each year the common reading book is selected by a committee that includes both faculty and students. Books are chosen based on how well they apply to the themes presented in Intersections. “The Other Wes Moore” tells the story of two men with the same name who grew up in the same neighborhood. One became a Rhodes Scholar and decorated veteran while the other is serving a life sentence for felony murder.
“The book, in true reflective nature, prompts its reader to consider what makes us who we are—how our family, social institutions, etc., contribute to a sense of self and how one can create change,” Siefken said.
Before completing “The Other Wes Moore,” Moore graduated as a commissioned officer from Valley Forge Military College in 1998 and from John Hopkins University in 2001, earning a bachelor’s degree in international relations. He later studied international relations at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
Moore was a paratrooper and captain in the U.S. Army and served a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division. He then worked as a White House Fellow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Moore is also the host of “Beyond Belief” on the Oprah Winfrey Network and founded the organization STAND!, which works with Baltimore youth involved in the criminal justice system.
“It is important to the selection committee that the chosen book exposes students to cultural differences, varying perspectives, values, beliefs, experiences and ideas and helps them begin to make meaning through connections: connections to self, Central College and the world,” said Siefken.