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Villanova University Selects Eboo Patel’s “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation” for 2017-18 One Book Program

Series of events will contemplate how promoting tolerance and interfaith cooperation in a pluralistic society can effect change  

Villanova University Selects Eboo Patel’s “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation” for 2017-18 One Book Program

Villanova University has chosen Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel as its 2017-18 One Book Villanova program selection. In an era marked by deep divides and a lack of civil discourse, Acts of Faith provides a timely exploration of what it means to grow up Muslim in America and how an interfaith youth movement could be world-changing.

“We are excited about this book and its author, Eboo Patel, because the experiences and treatment of Muslims in America is so relevant and doesn’t get enough coverage,” said Teresa A. Nance, PhD, Associate Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, and One Book Villanova committee co-chair. “An old adage goes, ‘One of the best ways to deal with an enemy is to make him a friend.’ Patel tells a wonderful story about how coming to understand the tenets of his own faith better allowed him to get to know and understand those of different faiths. We should all heed this message and listen to these kinds of stories because, now, more than ever, we all need more friends.” 

One Book Villanova is a distinctive educational program that engages all segments of the campus community – students, staff and faculty – in activities presented throughout the academic year which explore dominant themes presented in a selected book. Copies of Acts of Faith have been distributed to all incoming first-year students to read over the summer. Books are also available at the Circulation Desk in Villanova’s Falvey Memorial Library. 

"Villanova’s mission embraces the rich diversity of religious and cultural backgrounds within its community, and encourages robust dialogue across lines of difference,” said the Rev. Julia Sheetz, PhD, Associate Director of Campus Ministry for Ecumenical and Interfaith Outreach. “For the past five years, members of an interfaith student group have received training through Eboo Patel’s Interfaith Leadership Institute, and have created opportunities for students, faculty and staff of diverse traditions to learn from one another and to serve together. Shared reading of Acts of Faith, together with Patel’s visit to campus, affords a wonderful opportunity to broaden these vital efforts.”

Discussion groups, public readings and special events will enliven and extend the campus community’s examination of Acts of Faith throughout the 2017-18 academic year. A visit by the author to campus on September 19 as part of the University’s St. Thomas of Villanova celebration will include a presentation open to the public. Details of the event will be made available, as the date approaches, on the University’s One Book Villanova Website.

“The Villanova One Book program was created around the idea of ‘read it, share it,’ said Millicent Gaskell, Director of the University’s Falvey Memorial Library and One Book Villanova co-chair.  “This year’s selection, Acts of Faith, demonstrates that the sharing of experiences, cultures, thoughts and ideas among individuals from different backgrounds results in innumerable mutual benefits.”

Other selections featured since the One Book Villanova program began in 2005 include The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni; Blood Done Sign My Name by Timothy Tyson; Left To Tell by Immaculée Ilibagiza; The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls; Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji; The Unforgiving Minute by Craig Mullaney; Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford; Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal; by Conor Grennan, Good Kings, Bad Kings, by Susan Nussbaum; The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, by Wes Moore; The Distance Between Us: A Memoir; by Reyna Grande and The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's six colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Ranked among the nation’s top universities, Villanova supports its students’ intellectual growth and prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them. For more, visit