Blackwell Library

New Student Reader

New Student Reader  

2010-2011 Book


 Students: important documents and information

Faculty: documents and information



A Hope in the Unseen:

An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League

By Ron Suskind





About the Book

Cedric Jennings is the illegitimate son of an off-and-on drug dealer/ex-con and a hardworking, badly paid mother; it is her single-minded vision to have the boy escape the mean ghetto streets unscathed. Cedric has listened to her and is, as the book opens, an A student at a run-down, dispirited Washington, DC, high school, where he treads a thin line between being tagged a nerd and being beaten by gang leaders. Suskind, a Wall Street Journal reporter, follows the African-American youth through his last two years of high school and freshman year at Brown University. Inspirational sermons at a Pentecostal church, guidance from his mother, a love of black music and singing, and a refuge in the logic of math combine with the young man's determination and faith in the future to keep him focused on his goal of a topflight college education. Despite many low moments and setbacks, Jennings's story is one of triumph within both cultures, black and white, which together and separately put tremendous obstacles in his path out of the inner city. It is a privilege and an inspiration for readers to accompany Cedric on part of his long, difficult journey to maturity.

Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA School Library Journal

 Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc

About the Author

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Ron Suskind has written some of America's most important works of nonfiction, framing national debates while exploring the complexities of human experience.

-taken from Monday May 3, 2010.


 Cedric Jennings

In past years, the author of the book has been the Convocation speaker. This year, we are pleased to have Mr. Jennings, the subject of the book, as our speaker. Please read about Mr. Jennings life after the book below.

A Hope in the Unseen ends with Cedric entering his junior year at Brown University. That was 1997. He went on to graduate in 1999 with a 3.3 average, majoring in education with a minor in applied math. With the Internet craze in full swing, Cedric – after spending a summer managing the Salvation Army office in Providence –took a job with, the online bookseller. A year later, he left that company for a job with MicroStrategy Inc., the large data-mining company based in Northern Virginia. As the new economy collapsed in early 2001, so did MicroStrategy's fortunes. Cedric, thinking through the winter that he might like to get more education, was prepared. On a Tuesday morning in April, he – along with many colleagues on the Microstrategy staff – received a pink slip. On Wednesday, he received a thick letter from Harvard's Graduate School of Education. In the spring of 2002, Cedric received his Master's Degree in Education from Harvard with high marks. He spent the summer working at the Washington's centrist Progressive Policy Institute, analyzing national education policy. In the fall of 2004, he began another Master's Degree program, this time in social work, at the University of Michigan. He has grown up. The options and opportunities before him are vast.


Purpose of the Program

The purpose of the New Student Reader Program is to orient new students to our academic community at Salisbury University by having a common reading experience with fellow classmates, faculty, staff, and upper-class students who serve as orientation team peer leaders. 

The goal of the New Student Reader Program is to engage students in discussions, projects, curricular and co-curricular opportunities generated by a common reading experience.


Thursday, August 26th

5:30 - 6:30 PM  Dinner for Essay winners and their families with the  President and other University Officials. 

Held in the Worcester Room of the Commons.

7:00 - 8:00 PM   Cedric Jennings speaks to the Community. 

Held in the Great Hall and Social Room, Holloway Hall.


Friday, August 27th

9:00 - 10:00 AM  Convocation (Cedric Jennings, Speaker). 

Held in Red Square.

10:00 - 11:15 AM  Small group discussions led by Faculty & Staff. 

Held in various classrooms on the SU campus.

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM  Academic Open Houses. 

                Held in respective Academic Schools.

12:30 - 1:30 PM  Lunch on lawn (New Students & Faculty) and Campus book signing.

 Held on the lawn of Devilbiss Mall.

1:00 - 2:00 PM  New Student Reader book signing.

 Held on the lawn of Devilbiss Mall.



Committee Members of the New Student Reader Program

Diane Davis – Fall 2004

            Faculty/Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology/Health Sciences

 Lawanda Dockins-Gordy – Fall 2004

            Director/Guerrieri University Center

 Patricia Richards – Fall 2004

            Faculty/REED Coordinator/Education Specialties

 Vaughn White – Fall 2004

            Director/Multicultural Student Services

 Shautauqua Downs – Fall 2008

            Student (Senior)

 Alex Williams­- Fall 2008

            Student (Graduate)

 Edward Robeck – Fall 2004


Sarah Case – Fall 2008


 Leigh Ann DePope – Fall 2009

            Faculty/Serials/Electronic Services Librarian


For additional information about the public event or about the New Student Reader Program, please contact Lawanda Dockins-Gordy, Co-Chair, New Student Reader Committee
at 410-543-6100.


2009 - 2010 Book - Journey from the Land of No

2008-2009 Book - Into the Wild   *   2007-2008 Book - The Glass Castle
2006 - 2007 Book - The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
2005-2006  Book - Funny in Farsi