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
Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William
County, VA School Library Journal
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.
www.ronsuskind.com Monday May 3, 2010.
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 VarsityBooks.com, 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
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
(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
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.
on the lawn of Devilbiss Mall.
Committee Members of
the New Student Reader Program
Diane Davis – Fall 2004
Science/Medical Technology/Health Sciences
Lawanda Dockins-Gordy – Fall 2004
Patricia Richards – Fall 2004
Vaughn White – Fall 2004
Shautauqua Downs – Fall 2008
Alex Williams- Fall 2008
Edward Robeck – Fall 2004
Sarah Case – Fall 2008
Leigh Ann DePope – Fall 2009
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
2009 - 2010 Book - Journey from
the Land of No