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 7,500 people attended last Fall's University Convocation where our guest author was invited to speak.



We are excited to announce that this year’s Summer Reading selection will be Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, written by Bryan Stevenson. Bryan Stevenson is one of the country's most visionary legal thinkers and social justice advocates. A MacArthur fellow and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, Stevenson is a founding leader of the movement against mass incarceration in the U.S. He recently served on President Obama's task force on 21st-century policing. His memoir, Just Mercy, is the story of a young lawyer fighting on the frontlines of a country in thrall to extreme punishments and careless justice. It is an inspiring story of unbreakable humanity in the most desperate circumstances, and a powerful indictment of our broken justice system and the twisted values that allow it to continue.

We hope you will plan to join us in welcoming author Bryan Stevenson as he addresses the incoming class at Middle Tennessee State University as our 17th Summer Reading keynote speaker at this year’s Convocation.

Past Summer Reading Program Book Selections at MTSU

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

Information adapted from https://www.prhspeakers.com/speaker/bryan-stevenson.