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Summer Reading Program

Freshman Summer Reading Program

Welcome members of the Class of 2026!

It is a tradition for incoming students to engage with summer reading before they arrive to campus. This year Ben U professors have selected four articles that are linked by a common theme of Coversatio, one of the Ten Hallmarks of Benedictine Education.

The Benedictine Hallmark of Conversatio (con-ver-sah-shio) is our invitation to seek truth that leads to transformation. Rooted in both the stability that keeps us safe and holds us accountable and the discipline that moves us ever forward, we are called to be people of moral and spiritual courage. Conversatio calls us to the humility of a lifelong path of learning. We experience conversatio in the work of the classroom and from what our fellow Benedictine community members teach us. May our Benedictine experience lead us through a path of conversatio in which we are transformed for the good of ourselves and of our world.

The following readings range across the disciplines and explore the theme of conversatio, of transformation, from many perspectives.

  • An article by Arthur C. Brooks titled “10 Practical Ways to Improve Happiness,” introduced by Professor Phillip Hardy, College of Liberal Arts.
  • An excerpt from The Gifts of Imperfection on wholehearted living, introduced by Professor Rachael Narel, College of Business.
  • A report about a life-saving treatment developed by college students, introduced by Professor Tiara Perez Morales, College of Science & Health.
  • An examination of the ethical debate surrounding the death penalty, introduced by Professor Patrick Polasek, College of Liberal Arts.

Your professors encourage you to think critically over the summer about the importance of conversatio. At the freshman orientation, Ben Beginnings, you will attend a panel discussion among those professors and then break into small groups of classmates, orientation leaders, and first-year faculty to continue the conversation. Before the start of the semester, you will submit a writing assignment that reflects on the readings and the theme of Benedictine Conversatio.

hand taking book off shelf

Important Links

  • Visit Desire2Learn for articles, videos, and the assignment prompt.
  • If you are a transfer student or not a first-year student enrolled in WRIT 1101 or LCOM 1105, email Greg Ott at [email protected] for access. ยท Additional materials can be found in the Summer Reading Program Research Guide.
  • Students with questions about the summer reading or the assignment should feel free to contact Greg Ott at [email protected].

Gregory Ott
Director of the Writing Program & Discover CoLA
[email protected]
o: 630-829-1321
c: 314-313-9532