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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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‘Strength in What Remains’ Chosen as 2013-14 Common Read

Author Tracy Kidder to visit campus in September.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office, 5-20-2013

Mankato, Minn. – Minnesota State University, Mankato is in its fourth year of a common read program, and Tracy Kidder’s “Strength in What Remains,” the true story of a young man and his will to survive, has been chosen as the common read for the 2013-14 academic year.

The Minnesota State Mankato New Student and Family Programs office invites the area community to join University students in reading “Strength in What Remains” before the start of 2013-14 classes in August. The book is available in a variety of formats (hardcover, paperback, e-Book and audio) at various locations, including the Minnesota State Mankato Memorial Library as well as local public libraries and bookstores.

Several events are being planned for the fall, and all are free and open to the public. Currently planned events include:

  • Tracy Kidder public presentation — Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union Ballroom on campus. This event will also stream live online; details will be posted online at the common read website,, as the event approaches.
  • Community discussion groups — will be planned for October. Area businesses and community organizations are encouraged to read the book together, and then contact Kate Hansen in New Student and Family Programs if you would like to schedule a discussion to be moderated by a Minnesota State Mankato student.
  • Refugee/Immigrant panel discussion — will be planned for November. Refugees and immigrants from various countries, now living in Minnesota, will talk about their own experiences.

The goal of the common read is to create community and conversation with students, families, and the community. All students, faculty, staff, families, and community members are welcome to join in reading the book, participating in discussions, and attending events.

Area book clubs are invited and encouraged to choose the book, and a discussion guide is available online. The book could also be a conversation piece for families, whose sons and daughters may be preparing to leave home this summer. It is the hope of the common read program that the events and activities surrounding it will lead to learning from the perspectives of all who participate.

“Strength in What Remains,” written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder, is the true story of a young man named Deo and his will to survive, according to Kidder’s website about the book, which can be viewed online at Deo grew up in the mountains of Burundi, and he survived a civil war and genocide before seeking a new life in America. In New York City he lived homeless in Central Park before finding his way to Columbia University. But according to the author, Deo’s story really begins with his will to turn his life into something truly remarkable; he returns to his native country to help people there, as well as people in the United States.

More information about the common read is available at: or by contacting Kate Hansen, New Student and Family Programs, by phone at 507-389-5498 or by email at

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,413 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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