MTSU's Community Summer Reading Program was created in 2002 under the direction of Laurie Witherow, the Associate Vice Provost for Admissions and Enrollment Services. The objectives of the program are to:

  • provide a unifying experience for the entering class of students,

  • partner with Murfreesboro community organizations,

  • encourage intellectual interaction among students,

  • provide students with the opportunity to read and personally interact with critically-acclaimed authors, and

  • affirm the importance of reading for a successful and fulfilling life.

During CUSTOMS, all incoming freshman students receive packets that include a Summer Reading Guide, information about the author, and a list of course sections using the book selection for the Fall. In its first year, over 100 different course sections from three different academic colleges participated, along with six reading groups from the local community! More than 7,000 people attended last Fall's University Convocation where our guest author was invited to speak.


We are excited to announce that the 2014 Summer Reading selection will be This I Believe, edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman. Based on the popular National Public Radio series of the same name, This I Believe features eighty different statements of individual principles from the famous and unknown alike. Each essay candidly and compellingly completes the thought that begins this book's title. Further, each piece invites all readers to rethink not only how they have arrived at their own personal beliefs but also the extent to which they share these beliefs with others. This I Believe presents the hearts and minds of a diverse group of people, both past and present, whose beliefs reveal the American spirit at its best. Practical yet reflective, varied yet familiar, human yet universal, the statements of personal conviction collected here are ultimately a testament to that crucial endeavor known simply as listening—and to the insight, empathy, and self-contemplation that can only be achieved through listening. Jay Allison, the host and curator of This I Believe, is an independent broadcast journalist. His work appears often on NPR and has earned him five Peabody Awards. In 2014, he will address the incoming class at Middle Tennessee State University as our 14th Summer Reading keynote speaker (time and location TBA).

Past Summer Reading Program Book Selections at MTSU

For more information about the Community Summer Reading Program, contact Becca Seul via email at Becca.Seul@mtsu.edu or via phone at (615) 494-8910.