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Villanova University Selects Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy” for 2018-19 One Book Program

Series of events will contemplate how mercy can bring redemption and make progress toward repairing a broken justice system

One Book 2018 "Just Mercies" Book Cover

VILLANOVA, Pa.– Villanova University has chosen Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson as its 2018-19 One Book Villanova program selection. Stevenson’s stirring memoir chronicles his evolution from a young lawyer who founds the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of society’s marginalized – those whom have either been falsely convicted or received harsh prison sentences-- to a prominent standard bearer for equal justice. The book, which introduces the reader to several clients he has represented, is a testament to the power of promoting the value of compassion in restorative justice.

Just Mercy is one of the most important books the One Book Villanova committee has ever selected,” said Teresa A. Nance, PhD, Associate Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, and One Book Villanova committee co-chair. “Bryan Stevenson tells us he is just an ordinary person confronted with extraordinary injustice and that he was compelled to take action. We live in a time where inaction in the face of horrific wrongs done at home or abroad constitute a tacit support of the wrongdoing.”  

“Change is not a hope. Change is not something left up to the people in charge,” Nance continued.  “Following the example of our author, we come to realize that change is something we can do. Reading this book and having conversations about it, will help us call out the injustice around us and move toward becoming responsible agents for change.” 

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. Discussion groups, public readings and special events will enliven and extend the campus community’s examination of Just Mercy throughout the 2018-19 academic year.

A visit by the author to campus on September 14, 2018 as part of the University’s St. Thomas of Villanova celebration will include a presentation at 4 p.m. in the Villanova Room of the Connelly Center. The program is open to the public, but seating is limited. The author’s talk will be followed by a book signing at 5 p.m. The evening will conclude with a community dinner featuring foods connected to the theme of the book presented by the University’s Dining Services. Details about location, time and tickets will be announced closer to the date of the author’s visit. Check the University’s One Book Villanova Website for updated information about additional programs and events.

“Just Mercy is a powerful book and Bryan Stevenson is such a dynamic speaker that I think that this year’s One Book program will have a lasting impact on the Villanova community,” noted Millicent Gaskell, University Librarian, Director of Falvey Memorial Library and One Book Committee co-chair.

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, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert and Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel.

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 M. Louise Fitzpatrick 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