Honors Colloquium

Our biannual book discussion and common reading for all students in the Honors College
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What is ​Colloquium?

Each semester, all Honors College students explore a new topic through a common reading.  We come together for one night over a meal and share thoughts in small groups led by university faculty and staff members.  Generally, the discussion is accompanied by a keynote, expert panel, or other group activity.  

Colloquium topics are drawn from all areas of study.  Recent topics have included books on honesty, free speech, DNA and genetics, local food movements and sustainability, economics, immigration and American identities, and Victorian vampires.  We read novels, non-fiction, and sometimes even graphic novels and comics.  Colloquium is never the same twice, and by the time you graduate you'll have read a diversity of topics that help stretch your knowledge in news and unexpected ways.  

Faculty & Staff interested in participating should contact the Honors College office​ for more information or to sign up to be a table leader.

Honors Colloquium / Mackenzie Burke
Past Colloquium topics

2023-24 The Year of sound

  • Spring '24: TBA
  • Picture of book cover for Noise by David Hendy; Fall '23 Colloquium ReadingFall '23: Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening by David Hendy









2022-23: The Year of Curiosity

  • Spring '23: Go West, Young Man by B.J. Hollars
  • Fall '22: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

2021-22: The Year of Connection

  • Spring '22: Connected by N. Christakis & J. Fowler
  • Fall '21: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

2020-21: The Year of Resilience

  • Spring '21: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Fall '20: The Land of Open Graves by Jason DeLeon

2019-20: The Year of Stuff

  • Spring '20: Garbology - Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash by Edward Humes
  • Fall '19: Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik

2018-19: Facing Failure - A Year of Learning from Mistakes

  • Spring '19: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by ​Dan Eagan
  • Fall '18: Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margins of Error by Kathryn Schulz

2017-18: The Year of Conversation

  • Spring '18: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by ​Krystal Sutherland
  • Fall '17: How Does it Feel to Be a Problem: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi

2016-17: The Year of Curiosity

  • Spring '17: What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
  • Fall '16: Nonsense: The Power of Not Knowing by Jamie Holmes​ 


  • Spring '16: Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast
  • Fall '15: Unlearning Liberty by Greg Lukianoff


  • Spring '15: Running the Books by Avi Steinberg
  • ​Fall '14: The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely


  • Spring '14: Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Fall '13: The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen​


  • Spring '13: Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie - A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss​
  • Fall '12: The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 by Paul Krugman


  • Spring '12: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • Fall '11: The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt​


  • Spring '11: "Introduction to Freud's Dream Psychology" by Andre Tridon & "A Counterblast in the War on Freud: The Shrink is In" by Jonathan Lear
  • Fall '10: Apology by Plato​


  • Spring '10: Satchmo: the Genius of Louis Armstrong by Gary Giddins​
  • Fall '09: Roving Mars: Spirit, Opportunity, and the Exploration of the Red Planet by Steve Squyres


  • Spring '09: Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington & Amartya Sen
  • Fall '08: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph Ellis


  • Spring '08: The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer & Jim Mason​
  • Fall '07: "Pearls Before Breakfast" by Gene Weingarten, Washington Post

Upcoming books:

 2023-24 The Year of sound

  • Spring '24: TBA
  • Fall '23: Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening by David HendyPicture of book cover for Noise by David Hendy; Fall '23 Colloquium Reading



2022-23's Honors College Theme is "The Year of Curiosity"

Both texts this year were chosen to address this theme.

Fall 2022 Colloquium : Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein

Spring 2023 Colloquium : Go West, Young Man by B.J. Hollars

Your Community: Meet author B.J. Hollars


At the sound of the bell on the last day of kindergarten, B.J. Hollars and his six-year-old son, Henry, hop in the car to strike out on a 2,500-mile road trip retracing the Oregon Trail. Their mission: to rediscover America, and Americans, along the way. Throughout their two-week adventure, they endure the usual setbacks (car trouble, inclement weather, and father-son fatigue), but their most compelling drama involves people, privilege, and their attempt to find common ground in an all-too-fractured country.

Writing in the footsteps of John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, Hollars picks up the trail with his son more than half a century later. Together they sidle up to a stool at every truck stop, camp by every creek, and roam the West. They encounter not only the beauty and heartbreak of America, but also the beauty and heartbreak of a father and son eager to make the most of their time together. From Chimney Rock to Independence Rock to the rocky coast of Oregon, they learn and relearn the devastating truth of America’s exploitative past, as well as their role within it.

Go West, Young Man recounts the author’s effort to teach his son the difficult realities of our nation’s founding while also reaffirming his faith in America today.

Current Honors students can access a free digital copy of the book on Red Shelf in the Honors College Canvas Course.