The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies at Newman University will host a lecture by author Warren St. John at 7 p.m., Sept. 19 in the Performance Hall of the De Mattias Fine Arts Center on the Newman campus. A reception and book signing will follow at 8:30 p.m. in Gorges Atrium, also in the Fine Arts Center. The events are free and open to the public.
St. John will discuss his book Outcasts United: An American Town, A Refugee Team and One Woman’s Quest to Make a Difference. The book is the selected common reading for all incoming Newman freshman students as part of their Traditions and Transitions coursework at Newman. Several faculty and staff are reading the selection as well. In addition to the Sept. 19 public lecture, St. John will meet with Newman students to discuss the book at 9:30 a.m., Sept. 20 in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center.
Outcasts United was published in 2009 and tells the story of a southern town in Georgia that became an area for refugee resettlement. St. John describes the difficulties and hardships the soccer team and town face as people from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds are forced to live and work together. The book was optioned for a motion picture by Universal Studios.
“Outcasts United gives the reader a compelling view of the unique challenges faced by refugees fleeing their war-torn native lands,” said Jamey Findling, Ph.D., associate professor of philosophy and director of the Gerber Institute. “Realistic yet hopeful, the book contains resonant lessons about the importance of community and the struggle to find belonging and acceptance. St. John neither avoids nor glosses over the many differences dividing the refugees from the townspeople, as well as from each other, but he continually returns to the possibilities for reconciling those differences born of open hearts and minds.”
St. John is also the author of the national bestseller Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Road Trip into the Heart of Fan Mania.
Founded in 1995 and named for the Most Rev. Eugene J. Gerber, Bishop Emeritus of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, the Gerber Institute works to strengthen the Catholic identity of Newman University by promoting interdisciplinary dialogue exploring Catholic thought and practice in the areas of educational, philosophical, political, social, and cultural life. Each academic year, the institute presents speakers, conferences and other activities that focus on a particular theme. The current theme is “Reconciling Differences.”
For more information about The Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies at Newman University, visit www.gerberinstitute.orgor call 316-942-4291, ext. 2798.