Summer Reading Program

About the Summer Reading Program 

 CU’s Summer Reading Program strives to provide a common experience for our incoming students and to set the tone of emphasizing the importance of reading, writing, discussion, and critical thinking for having a successful academic career. It was established in 2004 as a part of our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) which is our Writing-Engagement-Learning Program (WEL).

Hundreds of colleges and universities (whether large, small, public, or private) are instituting SRPs and are assigning first-year students a book to read over the summer, hoping to create a sense of community and engage students intellectually. Engaged students retain information and have greater academic success than students who do not engage the material. CU’s program wants to send a clear message to our incoming student that reading, preparation, and engagement are expected and are necessary for academic success.

The assigned book is to be read over the summer prior to coming to campus; it is accompanied by a list of questions for the student to answer in a written response. During the first semester on campus, discussion leaders will meet and lead a discussion of those questions and how the reading can connect to their lives and provide useful insight and meaning. The books used in our SRP are quite varied and provided at no cost to the student.

The WEL Committee seeks to select books that will provide a common incoming experience for students while bringing an inspiring and thought-provoking message to the students.

Book Information

Title:           The Last Lecture

Author:       Randy Pausch

Year:          2008

Publisher:    Hyperion

ISBN-13:   9781401323257

About the Author

Randy Pausch was a Professor of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University. From 1988-1997, he taught at the University of Virginia. He was an award-winning teacher and researcher, and worked with Adobe, Google, Electronic Arts (EA), and Walt Disney Imagineering, and pioneered the Alice project. Although Pausch lost his cancer battle on July 25, 2008, his legacy lives on through The Last Lecture.

Synopsis from Barnes & Noble

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
—Randy Pausch


A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can't help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave—"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"—wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living. In this book, Randy Pausch combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.

Visit His Website

For additional info on Randy Pausch, visit: