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Sunday, February 5, 2023

News

Author to visit UH’s Provost Summer Read Program


Sarah Lewis, author of the 2015 Provost Summer read The Rise, will be discussing her book with students this Wednesday in the Cullen Performance Hall.

Each year the Office of the Provost, with the help of a student selection committee, handpicks a book for incoming freshman to read before the start of the school year. Lewis’ book was chosen for a variety of reasons, mainly revolving the relevancy of her message for first-year students.

“The students identified (with) Sarah Lewis’ piece specifically because it addresses a concept which most academically high-achieving students struggle with when they begin college, the concept of failure,” Provost Paula Myrick Short said. “The student selection committee believes that The Rise delivers a powerful message, the idea of failure as a gift, as the first step towards greatness or mastery.”

Throughout Lewis’ book, she uses specific examples and stories to highlight the gifts of failure and how people can move past them to carry out their dreams. Lewis researched each example thoroughly prior to writing her book. She found these examples were similar to how she curated modern art in the past, using her instincts.

“I went about it as a researcher and a curator,” Lewis said. “I scoured the web, I looked at lots of archives, I listened to different TED talks, I spoke to people I respect and asked about their lives. I wanted to find stories that were lesser known, but intriguing enough to hopefully keep you reading the whole book.”

Lewis believes that the book will be specifically beneficial for the freshman class as they take on new challenges and obstacles this school year.

“Finding the advantage of setbacks is the one thing you are never really taught, so coming into college knowing that is a huge gift,” Lewis said. “For freshman coming into college hopefully the message empowers them and excites them that their dreams can become larger.”

Lewis hopes that the book’s message will encourage students to follow their dreams and learn from their downfalls.

“[The message] helps you remain courageous in your pursuits,” Lewis said. “The only failure in life is to die with your dreams inside of you, my hope is that this book offers a road map for bringing those dreams to life. The biggest dream killer is the fear of failure, so if you move past that you can really accomplish far more than you ever knew you could.”

Luckily, that is exactly what the book accomplished for students. Freshman readers have been overwhelmingly positive.

The Rise was really inspiring,” biology freshman Madison Wilson said. “I felt like it was relevant for what we are all going through. I know now that it is okay to fail as long as I learn from it.”

Lewis is looking forward to coming to campus to hear student’s thoughts and criticisms on her book.

“I can’t wait to see how it might have shifted their thinking, what they think I failed at doing in the book and the visions that I might have inspired here,” Lewis said.

Lewis’ discussion will begin at 12:30 p.m.

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