Guests to speak on campus as part of Universitywide common read

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Photo of David "Sonny" .


KALAMAZOO—Three public events have been set focusing on "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," the book chosen for WMU's first Universitywide common read.

  • The award-winning book's author, Rebecca Skloot, will speak at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14, in the Gilmore Theatre Complex's Shaw Theatre. Seating will be open, and a book signing will follow the author's talk.
  • The Center for the Study of Ethics in Society will sponsor a panel of WMU faculty members discussing the book on Lacks, as it relates to research writing and ethical choice, at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, in the University Center for the Humanities in Knauss Hall. On the panel will be Dr. Elizabeth Bradburn, associate professor of English; Sue Ellen Christian, associate professor of communication; Dr. Linwood Cousins, director of the Department of Social Work; Dr. Jil Larson (moderator), associate professor of English; and Dr. Ann Miles, professor of sociology.
  • David Lacks, Henrietta's son, and another member of the Lacks family will participate in a question-and-answer session starting at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, in the Fetzer Center's Kirsch Auditorium. Seating will be open, and a book signing will follow until 8 p.m. Registration is required.

University Common Read

Photo of Rebecca .


University Common Read 2012-13 started this summer for all incoming and current WMU students as well as all WMU employees. The book chosen has garnered attention from ethicists and the public at large.

It chronicles the famous case of the late Henrietta Lacks, a poor black woman whose cells had an unusual property—unlike those of other donors, they could be kept alive and grown in the laboratory. In the 60 years since tissue samples were taken from Lacks without her knowledge, her cells have led to numerous medical breakthroughs and made untold millions of dollars for researchers and corporations worldwide.

For more information, visit the University Libraries Common Read website. Questions may be directed to Miranda Howard, professor of University Libraries, at or (269) 387-5166.