Latest read: A Hope in the Unseen

As a new participant in the reading group at UWM’s Division of Student Affairs I found myself engaged in a book about Cedric Jennings.  Having participated in reading groups both in and out of higher education I’m pretty impressed with this group. For the first time I’m engaging the book A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League directly onto campus and into the lives of the students we work with everyday.

Cedric Jennings is the focus of “A Hope in the Unseen” an incomplete story of a gifted high school student in the poor intercity of Washington DC during the height of the crack cocaine wars of the 90s. His story of overcoming all the odds to win a scholarship to an Ivy League college is just part of his story.  And college was just beginning another struggle in his life.  With other groups sometimes the title did not fit the organization, like Jon Krakauer‘s Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith. That is one tough book for any club.

I have learned what some titles really do not make any sense for a university administrator.  During a regular meeting with a former college’s senior leadership we went around the table speaking about a current book we were reading and how it fit into our job. I was reading about innovation yet was humored with one academic dean who shared her thoughts about her job and a murder mystery based in Chicago. Yikes!

This is the third book by Ron Suskind that I have read over the last year. Having been impressed with his previous works One Percent Doctrine and The Way of the World: A Story of Truth and Hope in an Age of Extremism it was no surprise I found his work again very enjoyable. What I did not realize prior to beginning this book was his Pulitzer Prize for writing a short story about Cedric Jennings while he attended Ballou High School were published in the Wall Street Journal.

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