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First Year Academic Convocation

go set the world aflame!

book cover of A Chance in the World

First Year Academic Convocation 2016 will take place on Thursday, September 8th.

Our book selection for the Class of 2020 is A Chance in the World by author and BC alumnus Steve Pemberton. This memoir describes the unfathomable story of Steve’s determination to navigate a foster system that failed him as a young child and his adult quest to find a true sense of name.    

Throughout his quest to find both a source and sense of identity, Steve encounters several individuals whose kindness offered him the resiliency not only to carry on, but also to live a personal and professional life of meaning and purpose as a loving husband, father and a responsible corporate executive.

Steve Pemberton is the Vice-President of Diversity and Inclusion for Walgreens Boots Alliance, the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise in the world, employing 370,000 people in 25 countries. Prior to that he served as Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens, becoming the first person to hold that position in the historic company’s 114 year history. He is widely considered a subject matter expert on matters of diversity and inclusion and its importance to the sustainability of organizations and the communities they serve.

Since the Fall of 2004, Conversations in the First Year has enriched the intellectual lives of our newest students. It begins at Orientation, where all incoming students are given a common text. This book helps to create the year's academic theme. Then, early in their first semester, all first year students gather for the First Year Academic Convocation. Each year the Convocation speaker addresses the class, inspiring the themes of the summer reading. Convocation is filled with ritual, ideas, and conversation that kick off the academic year. All first-year students are required to join us for this event.


Past Speakers : summer reading

2015  David Brooks: The Road to Character

2014  Dave Eggers: The Circle

2013  Bill Strickland: Make the Impossible Possible

2012  Dan Barry: Bottom of the 33rd

2011  Colum McCann: Let the Great World Spin

2010  Daniel Wolff: How Lincoln Learned to Read

2009  Ann Patchett: Run

2008  J.R. Moehringer: The Tender Bar     

2007  Jeanette Walls: The Glass Castle        

2006  Senator John McCain: Lives of Moral Leadership by Robert Coles

2005  Senator Barack Obama: Dreams from My Father

2004  Dr. Paul Farmer and Tracy Kidder: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder



Go set the world aflame banner
  "Go set the world aflame."
-Ignatius of Loyola

In the entrance of the Jesuit headquarters in Rome is a striking statue of Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits) with the motto "Ite, inflammate omnia." — "Go set the world aflame,"  his parting words to Francis Xavier who was carrying the Gospel to the East. This is our charge as you begin your experience at Boston College. Take the gift of education and carry it to great places throughout the world.