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First-Year Read

American Program Bureau offers an esteemed collection of authors and titles that will greatly enrich the collegiate reading experience. By introducing students to these stirring and thought-provoking voices, we hope to help you instill a love of learning and great literature, while sparking thought-provoking discussions. For more first-year read speakers, we encourage you to view our Book(TALK) catalog.

First-Year Read

Senior Executive at Walgreens Boots Alliance, Best Selling Author, A Chance in the World

Steve Pemberton’s story is about defying seemingly unsurmountable odds— overcoming abuse and neglect as an orphan in foster care to become a trail-blazing corporate executive, enlightened diversity leader, visionary youth advocate and acclaimed...

"Maria" on Sesame Street & Author

Those who grew up learning their ABC's with Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Kermit and the Cookie Monster will immediately recognize Manzano as the bilingual "Maria" on Sesame Street. Manzano attributes her appeal to the fact that she acts the...

New York Times Best-Selling Author, Social Entrepreneur & Motivational Leader

Acclaimed author Wes Moore is a veteran, Rhodes Scholar and the founder of BridgeEDU. His most recent book, The Work, debuted at No. 15 on the New York Times Best Seller List and is a collection of, “…incredibly valuable lessons...

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

Journalist and best-selling author of Half the Sky Sheryl WuDunn offers a compelling perspective on current economic, political and social issues such as women's rights.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning New York Times Columnist

A Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, Kristof is an extraordinary thinker, human rights advocate, and astute chronicler of humanity. As a seasoned journalist who has traveled China, Africa, India, and South Asia, he...

Entrepreneur & First Female Private Space Explorer

Speaker Anousheh Ansari is both the first female private space explorer and the first Iranian astronaut. She also co-founded Telecom Technologies and Prodea Systems.

New York Times Best-Selling Author & Musician

An award-winning jazz musician, McBride is the author of The New York Times bestseller, The Color of Water, a memoir that has become a modern classic. Spike Lee directed the film adaptation of McBride's book, Miracle at St. Anna...

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author & Journalist

Sonia Nazario, a former projects reporter for The Los Angeles Times, has spent more than two decades reporting and writing about social issues, earning her dozens of national awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing for her...

Award-Winning Author

The best-selling author of Super Sad True Love Story, speaker Gary Shteyngart offers insights into the absurdity of life, balancing humor with tragedy.

Writer, Humanitarian & President of BK Nation

As a talented political activist, poet, journalist, essayist, hip-hop historian, public speaker, and entrepreneur, Powell is widely considered one of America's most important voices in these early years of the 21st Century. An astute and...

Social Entrepreneur & Veteran

The founder of an NGO and a former Marine, Rye Barcott has the distinction of being both a warrior and a peacemaker, a juxtaposition he explores in the memoir It Happened on the Way to War.

New York Times Columnist & Author

Anand Giridharadas is an author and columnist, writing about a world in transition as seen through the lens of culture. He is the author of India Calling: An Intimate Portrait of a Nation's Remaking.

Founder of McSweeney's / Author

Dave Eggers is the author of the memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000); the novel You Shall Know Our Velocity (2002); the story collection How We Are Hungry (2004); and the novel What is the What (...

Physician & Inspirational Leader

Dr. Davis is the author of Living & Dying in Brick City: An ER Doctor Returns Home, in which he shares his riveting experiences as an ER physician, offering preventative guidance as a means of supporting healthier communities.

Founder, Homeboy Industries

Father Gregory Boyle is the founder and CEO of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention and re-entry program in Los Angeles County.

Boston Marathon Bombing Hero & Best-Selling Author

A survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing and National Hero, Jeff shares his story in a presentation that will uplift and inspire.

Author of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and New York Times Investigative Reporter

“A sort of Tina Fey character who unexpectedly finds herself addicted to the adrenaline rush of war.” That’s how The New York Times first described Kim Barker when they reviewed her darkly comic memoir Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (...

Best-Selling Author

Author of the incendiary New York Times best-selling memoir All Souls and the companion bestseller Easter Rising, MacDonald shares his remarkable story of survival and redemption while examining the tangled relationship...

Psychologist & Stereotype Expert

Speaker Claude Steele is an expert on "stereotype threat," the notion that students who belong to negatively stereotyped groups are likely to perform less well.

Playwright & Novelist

Speaker Pearl Cleage probes issues of race, sex, and love in her literary works. She authored popular books such as 2011's Just Want to Testify.

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