Since 2004, the University’s Office of First Year Experience has sponsored Conversations in the First Year, a program that joins together the freshman class with ritual, ideas, and conversation. A common text is distributed to the incoming freshman class at orientation. Students are asked to read the text in advance of Academic Convocation where a speaker addresses the class, touching upon the themes of the summer reading. The Class of 2015 is reading National Book Award winner Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. On Sept. 15, they will gather together on Linden Lane and process to Conte Forum for a special audience with the best-selling author. As the University’s reading guide says, “The gritty world that McCann depicts within this novel is filled with cynicism, dejection, addiction, self-absorption, cruelty, and loss; however, amid this seemingly more powerful world of despair, Let the Great World Spin provides a wellspring of hope that emerges through individual acts of compassion and redemption. It is within these individual acts of generosity that the themes of forgiveness, empathy, faith, and hope emerge.” Curious what books and speakers were part of previous Conversations in the First Year? Check out this list.