One Book, One University

One Book, One University Program.

As part of the Freshman La Verne Experience, all freshmen will participate in a common reading program in their FLEX Learning Community to help integrate into the broader community of learners at the University of La Verne.  The One Book, One University program promotes reading and the discussion of diverse perspectives as a common intellectual experience, teaches writing as a way of learning through reflection, and encourages civic communication while actively engaged in the world. In particular, the One Book, One University Program integrates La Verne’s four core values into student learning:

  • A values orientation that encourages students to reflect upon personal, professional, and societal values;
  • A respect for diverse communities and the biodiversity of the planet;
  • Active lifelong learning;
  • Engaged community service.

This year’s selection is Elizabeth Kolbert, journalist and author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change.  Ms. Kolbert will visit campus for a lecture on September 25, 2013 at 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM.


Elizabeth Kolbert traveled from Alaska to Greenland, and visited top scientists, to get to the heart of the debate over global warming. Growing out of a groundbreaking three-part series in The New Yorker (which won the 2006 National Magazine Award in the category Public Interest), Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change brings the environment into the consciousness of the American people and asks what, if anything, can be done, and how we can save our planet. She explains the science and the studies, draws frightening parallels to lost ancient civilizations, unpacks the politics, and presents the personal tales of those who are being affected most—the people who make their homes near the poles and, in an eerie foreshadowing, are watching their worlds disappear. Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change was chosen as one of the 100 Notable Books of the Year (2006) by The New York Times Book Review. She is currently at work on a new book about mass extinctions that will weave intellectual and natural history with reporting in the field. As with Field Notes from a Catastrophe, the book began as an article in The New Yorker.

Elizabeth Kolbert has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1999. She has written dozens of pieces for the magazine, including profiles of Senator Hillary Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Her series on global warming, “The Climate of Man,” appeared in The New Yorker in the spring of 2005 and won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s magazine award. Also in 2006, she received the National Academy of Sciences Communication Award in the newspaper/magazine category and was awarded a Lannan Writing Fellowship. In September 2010, Kolbert received the prestigious Heinz Award which recognizes individuals who are addressing global change caused by the impact of human activities and natural processes on the environment.  She also won a 2010 National Magazine Award in the Reviews and Criticism category for her work in the New Yorker and the Sierra Club’s 2011 David R. Brower Award.

Elizabeth Kolbert’s stories have also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Vogue, and Mother Jones, and have been anthologized in The Best American Science and Nature Writing and The Best American Political Writing. She edited The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2009.  A collection of her work, The Prophet of Love and Other Tales of Power and Deceit, was published in 2004. Prior to joining the staff of The New Yorker, Kolbert was a political reporter for The New York Times.

“If you have time this year for just one book on science, nature, or the environment, Field Notes should be it.” – San Diego Union Tribune

Previous One Book, One University selections include:

Fall 2012                                       Fall 2011                                  Fall 2010