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Common Reading Events

The Common Reading Program is made possible through the generous support of the Shepherd University Foundation. All events are free & open to the public.


Wednesday, Feb. 28: 6:30 pm – Intervention & Addiction – An Ethics Dialogue.  Robert C. Byrd CHE Auditorium.

A panel discussion about the best ways to truly help addicts and our ethical obligations to them as a society.

Free &  Open to the Public. Refreshments to follow.

Co-sponsored by Common Reading Program, George Washington Institute of Living Ethics (GWILE), & the Harm Reduction Clinic.


Friday, Feb. 2nd:  7 p.m.

Screening of “The Glass Castle,” by Destin Daniel Cretton, Reynolds Hall. Followed by a Post-film Discussion led by Dr. Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt. Sponsored by Shepherd University Scarborough Society, Shepherdstown Film Society, and Common Reading Program.


Shon Hopwood – “From Prison Inmate to Lawyer & Scholar”

Monday, Sept. 18th – 6:00 pm – Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History & Education Auditorium

Hopwood spent 11 years in prison for aggravated bank robbery, where he was inspired to study law; now he’s teaching at Georgetown Law. He’ll talk about finding his calling, overcoming adversity, and how he turned his life around.

Co-sponsored by the Common Reading Program & Shepherd’s Lifelong Learning program

Refreshments to Follow – sponsored by the SU Foundation


Liz Murray: Homeless to Harvard – Common Reading author visit & book signing

Tuesday, Oct. 3rd – 7:00 pm – Frank Center Auditorium

Liz Murray, author of the 2017-2018 Shepherd Common Reading, “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard”, will tell the story of how she overcame the odds to be accepted into Harvard University after living on the streets of New York City and dropping out of high school.

Book-signing and refreshments to follow

Sponsored by the Shepherd University Foundation

Student Homelessness Panel

Tuesday, Oct. 24th – 6:00 pm – Robert C. Byrd Center Auditorium

Learn more about the all-too-frequent reality of student homelessness. Representatives from area non-profit support organizations will share statistics, strategies, and solutions for addressing the issue of homelessness among primary and secondary school students, as well as other groups affected by this public social epidemic. Canned goods and non-perishable items will be collected and donated to the local food bank. Free & Open to the Public. Refreshments to follow. Sponsored by the SU Foundation, Common Reading Program, Department of Social Work, and Student Affairs.


Wednesday, November 15th: 6:00 pm – Reynolds Hall

Screening of Netflix documentary, Heroin(e), with Kerrin Sheldon, producer & director of photography. Post-film discussion and Q&A. Free & Open to the public. Support provided by West Virginia Public Broadcasting & the Shepherd University Foundation.

“Heroin(e)” documents three women in Huntington, West Virginia as they fight the opioid epidemic in a city with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. Fire Chief Jan Rader spends the majority of her days reviving those who have overdosed; Judge Patricia Keller presides over drug court, handing down empathy along with orders; and Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministry feeds meals to the women selling their bodies for drugs. As America’s opioid crisis threatens to tear communities apart, the Netflix Original Short Documentary Heroin(e) shows how the chain of compassion holds one town together.