In the fall of 2018, alumni and parents met for a thought-provoking group discussion on Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie as a part of the Washington University Common Reading Program. The program, sponsored by the Washington University Alumni Association and Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement provided a copy of the selected book, discussion questions, and a forum for attendees to delve into complex issues and questions raised in the book.

About the Common Reading Program and Alumni and Parent Book Discussions

Originally named the First Year Reading Program, this initiative began in the fall of 2003 to provide first-year students a shared intellectual experience to start their academic career at WashU. The program was renamed the Washington University Common Reading Program in 2017 as the program now supports discussions among first-year students, parents, families, and alumni groups around the world.

Since 2009, the WashU Miami Network has read the assigned book for first-year students and gathered annually in a local home for a thought-provoking group discussion over coffee and desserts. In fall of 2016, the Alumni Association and the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement expanded the number of Alumni and Parent Book Discussions to 40 discussion groups nationwide, up from four groups the previous year.


Thank you to our fall 2017 discussion hosts:

Hosts

ANN ARBOR, MI 
Host: Jeff Ellison, AB ’80

ATLANTA, GA
Host: Tricia Gephardt

AUSTIN, TX (WEST LAKE)
Host: Stephanie Tucker, AB ’78

BALTIMORE, MD
Hosts: Robin and Stephen Miller

CHICAGO, IL (WRIGLEYVILLE)
Host: Stephani Perlmutter

CHICAGO, IL (DOWNTOWN)
Host: Claire Pluard, AB ’12

CLEVELAND, OH (CHAGRIN FALLS)
Hosts: Steven Hass-Hill, BS ’88, MBA ’88, and Elizabeth Hass-Hill, MBA ’89

DALLAS, TX (LAKEWOOD)
Hosts: Michelle McClure, AB ’10, and Donald McClure, BSBA ’10

GOLD COAST, FL (BOCA RATON)
Host: Nicole Kaplan, BA ’92

HONOLULU, HI,
Hosts:  Ann Shaver, AB ’70

HOUSTON, TX
Hosts: Hans Meyer, BSBA ’57, MSW ’61, and Marge Mayer, AB ’65

MIAMI, FL (CORAL GABLES)
Host: Julie Katz, AB ’02

MONTREAL, QUEBEC
Hosts: Ariel Cascio, AB ’09, Vincent Castellucci, PhD ’68, Jordan Zipkin, BSBA ’13

NEW YORK, NY (UPPER EAST SIDE)
Host: Navah Kaplan, AB ’81

NEW YORK, NY (GRAMERCY PARK)
Host: Helaine Fendelman, AB ’64, and Burton Fendelman, BSBA ’60, JD ’61

NEW YORK, NY (UPPER EAST SIDE)
Hosts: Elizabeth Guerin and Jonathan Hacker

NORTHVILLE, MI
Hosts: Rajiva and Anjali Sharma

PHOENIX, AZ (PARADISE VALLEY)
Hosts: Leslie Feldman, AB ’03

PORTLAND, OR (BETHANY)
Hosts: Lauren and Mark Francis

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (PACIFIC HEIGHTS)
Hosts: Brian Cunningham, BS ’65, JD ’70, and Martha Cunningham, AB ’65

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (CASTRO/CARONA HEIGHTS)
Hosts: Marissa Hockfield, AB ’01, and Josh Steinfeld, AB ‘01

SEATTLE, WA (SAMMAMISH)
Hosts: Alan Bender, AB ’75 and Joyce Bender

ST. LOUIS, MO (YOUNG ALUMNI)
Host: Zack Linneman, AB ’11

ST. LOUIS, MO (WEBSTER GROVES)
Hosts: Harry Moppins, BS ’67, and Carol Moppins, MA ’74

ST. LOUIS, MO (TOWN & COUNTRY)
Hosts: Masao Nishi, BS ’69, MBA ’74, and Wendy Nishi, BFA ’72

ST. LOUIS, MO (ALUMNI HOUSE)
Hosts: Cara Johnson, AB ’05

TWIN CITIES, MN (SHOREVIEW)
Host: Diana Flotten, BS ’94

WASHINGTON D.C. (LOGAN CIRCLE)
Hosts: Jeremy Thomas, AB ’08, and Emily Thomas, AB ’07

WASHINGTON D.C. (TENLEYTOWN)
Hosts: Bunny Polmer, AB ’68, and Henry Polmer, AB ’67

WASHINGTON D.C. (KENSINGTON, MD)
Hosts: David Rubenstein, AB ’79, and Leila Holtsman

Our 2018 discussion hosts: 

Hosts

ASPEN, CO

Hosts: Robin Buchalter, AB ’87 & Neal Buchalter, AB ’88

ATLANTA, GA

Hosts: Kiki Wilson, AB ’74

BALTIMORE, MD

Hosts: Emily Tobias, AB ’05

CHICAGO, IL (LITTLE ITALY)

Hosts: Claire Pluard, AB ’12

CHICAGO, IL (WEST LOOP)

Hosts: Jemal Swoboda, AB ’02

DALLAS, TX

Hosts: Kristin Robertson, AB ’78

EAGAN, MN

Hosts: Sara Sternberger and Howard Epstein, AB ’86 MD ’91

EDMONDS, WA

Hosts: Tim and Ann McMahon, BS ’83 MS ’87

HOUSTON, TX

Hosts: Danielle Forget-Shield, BS’94

MIAMI, FL

Hosts: Jack and Roz Zacks, AB ’72

NEW YORK, NY (Clinton Hill-Brooklyn)

Hosts: Jeremy Thomas, AB ’08, and Emily Thomas, AB ’07

NEW YORK, NY (Gramercy Park)

Hosts: Helaine Fendelman, AB ’64, and Burton Fendelman, BSBA ’60, JD ’61

NEW YORK, NY (Upper East Side)

Hosts: Elizabeth Guerin and Jonathan Hacker, WashU Parents to Jordan, AB ’08, and Corey, AB ‘11

PHOENIX, AZ

Hosts: Leslie Feldman, AB ’03

WASHINGTON, DC (Adams Morgan)

Hosts: Lars Etzkorn AB ‘87 & Gregory Hoss

WASHINGTON, DC (Tenleytown)

Hosts: Bunny Polmer, AB ’68, and Henry Polmer, AB ’67