St. Bonaventure University welcomes this year’s All Bonaventure Reads author Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker and theatrical producer, to campus Tuesday, Oct. 1.
Vargas will deliver a keynote address to members of the Class of 2023 at 7 p.m. in the Reilly Center Arena. The talk is free and open to the public, with a book signing in the University Bookstore to follow.
Vargas’ best-selling memoir, “Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen,” was published by HarperCollins in 2018 and is the university’s 14th all-campus read.
As part of the All Bonaventure Reads initiative, first-year students at St. Bonaventure received a copy of “Dear America” during Orientation and were asked to read the book and write an essay reflecting on it as their first college assignment. This fall, students are engaged in conversations about the book’s themes in their first-year seminar course, SBU 101.
Now 38 years old, Vargas was 12 when his mother sent him from the Philippines to California to live with his grandparents. It wasn’t until he tried to apply for a driver’s license as a teenager that he learned he had entered the U.S. with false documents.
A leading voice for the human rights of immigrants, Vargas founded the non-profit media and culture organization Define American, named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast
Company. Most recently, he co-produced Heidi Schreck’s acclaimed play “What the Constitution Means to Me,” which opened on Broadway last spring.
In 2011, The New York Times Magazine published a groundbreaking essay Vargas wrote in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later, he appeared on the cover of TIME magazine worldwide with fellow undocumented immigrants as part of his follow-up cover story. He then produced and directed “Documented,” an autobiographical documentary feature film that aired on CNN and received a 2015 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Documentary. Also in 2015, MTV aired “White People,” an Emmy-nominated television special he produced and directed on what it means to be young and white in a demographically-changing America.
Among accolades he has received are the Freedom to Write Award from PEN Center USA and honorary degrees from Colby College and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Passionate about the role of arts in society and promoting equity in education, he serves on the advisory board of TheDream.US, a scholarship fund for undocumented immigrant students.
A product of the San Francisco Bay Area, Vargas is a 2004 graduate of San Francisco State University, where he was named Alumnus of the Year in 2012. An elementary school named after Vargas opened in his hometown of Mountain View, California, in August.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2019, St. Bonaventure was named the #1 regional university value in New York and #2 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.
St. Bonaventure has chosen “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond” by Marc Lamont Hill as its common read for 2017-2018.
“Nobody” considers a string of high-profile deaths in America and incidents of gross negligence by the government.
To make his case, Hill recounts the details of tragedies like the death of Michael Brown and draws upon first-hand reporting and careful historical analysis to show how the “Nobody” class has emerged over time and how forces in America have worked to preserve and exploit this group in ways that are both humiliating and harmful.
First-year students will receive copies of “Nobody” during orientation in July and are asked to read the book prior to the start of the fall semester. Students are engaged in conversations about the book’s themes in their SBU101 course and various campuswide events during the upcoming academic year.
The university will welcome Hill to campus Monday, Sept. 25, for the ABR 2017 Keynote Address.
More about Marc Lamont Hill:
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