Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Join us for a report launch on Wednesday, May 24th at the  office in Manhattan with Wight Martindale as keynote speaker.

For the past seven years, the National Association of Scholars (NAS) has surveyed what books colleges and universities assign as common reading—often a summer reading selection for incoming freshmen. For many students, this is the only book they will read in common with all their classmates.

The NAS will be holding an event to launch their report on these “beach books.” Their findings are cause for concern. Schools seldom assign classic texts, and the books they assign fall within a narrow genre: parochial, contemporary, commercial, obsessed with suffering, and progressive.

Please join us for a reception at 6 pm, followed by a panel discussion at 6:30.

Wight Martindale
Wight Martindale, Jr. left his job as a Senior Vice President in the corporate bond department at Lehman Brothers in 1990 to earn a PhD in English Literature. Since earning his degree he has taught honors courses in the humanities first at Lehigh University and currently at Villanova University. In 2005 Simon & Schuster published his book about playground basketball in New York City, Inside the Cage, and in 2013 he published Don Quixote Goes to College: From the Trading Floor to the Classroom—A Memoir on Education. He lives with his family outside Philadelphia.

The other speakers will be:

Peter Wyatt Wood
President National Association of Scholars 

Peter Wood is an anthropologist and former provost. He was appointed president of the NAS in January 2009. Before that he served as NAS’s executive director (2007-2008), and as provost of The King’s College in New York City (2005-2007).

David Randall
Director of Communications National Association of Scholars

David Randall earned a Ph.D. in history from Rutgers University, an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Columbia University, a master’s degree in library science from the Palmer School at Long Island University, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College. Prior to working at NAS he was the sole librarian at the John McEnroe Library at New York Studio School.