Through its Common Reading Program, the University of Oregon has been invited to attend Michelle Obama’s only higher education appearance of the year where she will discuss her memoir, “Becoming.”
Hosted by Howard University, the UO is among 10-15 colleges invited by Penguin Random House to join this first-of-its-kind event, which will be held in person and virtually Tuesday, Nov. 9, at 10 a.m..
The discussion will focus on themes from Obama’s book and include topics about owning your story, finding your voice, unseen history, support systems, and challenges of first-generation and minority students.
With the support of UO President Michael H. Schill, the Division of Undergraduate Education and Student Success, and the Oregon Humanities Center’s Endowment for Public Outreach in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, the Common Reading Program will send one student representative to attend the event in Washington, D.C. The student also will have the unique opportunity to ask the former first lady a question, on behalf of the UO.
“This is a very special, first-of-its-kind opportunity for the UO community to be in conversation with Michelle Obama and our colleagues at Howard University,” said Julie Voelker-Morris, director of UO Common Reading, “We are pleased to be one of a small group of institutions to be invited to participate in Michelle Obama’s only higher education appearance of the year.”
A selection committee, chaired by Barbara Marbury, Bridges Program coordinator in the Division of Equity and Inclusion, is accepting faculty and staff nominations for students who can reflect the core themes of “Becoming” through their background, experiences, challenges, accomplishments and aspirations. Undergraduates, fifth-year undergraduates and graduate students who have completed at least one year of study at the UO are eligible.
The committee also will select an alternate student and a question that will be presented to Obama during the event. Nominations and question submissions can be made using the online student nomination form and question submission form by Oct. 20 at 7 a.m.
“It’s vitally important that our campus engages with such an important opportunity to learn from former First Lady Michelle Obama,” said Jamar Bean, Multicultural Center Program adviser. “Her story continues to serve as an inspiration to not only our Black and brown community, but to the masses as well. Having a student from the University of Oregon get the opportunity to engage with Obama will be an extraordinary moment that can be shared for years to come."
Details of how the UO community can watch the live-streamed event and get a limited copy of “Becoming” will be available soon on the events calendar listing.
—By Kaitlyn Jimenez, University Communications