Honors One Read

One Read Honors

Each year the Honors College selects an important book–fiction or non-fiction–as its One Read. The book then becomes the focal point of Honors community activities, programming, and even courses and academic units of study.

2018-2019 One Read Honors:  Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father

One of the most riveting memoirs of suffering during the course of a genocide, Ung is a brilliant chronicler of life under the Khmer Rouge from 1975-1979. Ung was separated from her family, trained as a child soldier, sent to a work camp, and forced to find ways to survive the horrors of genocide

Riveting and suspenseful, arguably the most accessible memoir of Cambodia’s recent past, First They Killed My Father, is a page-turning account—at once a powerful coming-of-age story, of family, history, and culture—and one that you are likely to never forget.

Today, Ung is a national spokesperson for the Campaign for a Landmine Free World, a program of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation. She is also the author of other memoirs and books, and lives in Ohio. We are pleased to be able to bring her to campus and to Columbia.

Information, announcements, and the essay prompt for the current One Read Honors selection can be found on Canvas

One Read Honors Symposium (Required Event)

All incoming, first-year Honors College students are expected to read First They Killed My Father over the summer and then, during Welcome Week, attend the scheduled One Read Symposium.

The One Read Symposium is scheduled for Thursday, August 16 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and you are expected to attend. It will be held at the Missouri Theater (at the corner of 9th Street and Locust St., just two blocks north of the Honors College and Lowry Hall).

Following the Symposium, we invite you to join us for 90 minutes of food (our annual tradition is to serve Panda Express), fun, and festivities on the Lowry Grassy Knoll (between Middlebush and Lowry on 9th St; Missouri Theater will be our rain location) where there will be music, games, activities, and entertainment.Panda Express

Women who are participating in Sorority Recruitment will have accommodations made to their recruitment schedule on Thursday so that they are able to attend the Symposium from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. You are required to attend the Honors event.

You may not be able to stay for the festivities, but there will be other ample opportunities to have fun with the Honors College community.

One Read Honors Events (Optional)

We will also schedule and host a number of related events in which the ideas and issues of the selection will be central, as well as carried into new avenues of thought and engagement. Students have the option of attending as many or as few of these events as their schedule allows.

There will be small group discussions, led by the Peer Assistants from the FIGs and other, select students in the College. There is even a course that builds on the topics of the book and goes much further and deeper. So there will be ample opportunities to examine the book and its ideas throughout the year.

One Read Honors Details and Handbook

Each year the College prepares a Handbook (including readings, procedures, a writing contest, etc.) as well as puts forward a slate of additional activities.  All of this is open to new students via Canvas.


One Read Essay Contest Winners!

2018: Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father

1st place: Allison Plogher for “Davi: Story of a Survivor”
2nd place: Alexandra Okeson-Haberman for “This is Ameica”
3rd place: Rebecca Jackoway for “Thinking in Italics”

2017: Louise Edrich, The Round House

1st place: Carly Brown for “Tempering Passion”
2nd place: Samantha Smith for “Strong Women: On the Sidelines but Still in the Game”
3rd place: Karlee Adler for “The Morality of Characters in The Round House”

2016: Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy

1st place: Maxx Cook for “Just Mercy: A Prompt for Civil Discourse”
2nd place: Shoshana Dubnow
3rd place: Christian Cmehil-Warn for “Just Mercy: Dehumanization Exposed”


Prior One Read Selections

2018-2019: Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father (Harper Perennial, 2001).

2017-2018: Louise Edrich, The Round House (Harper Perennial, 2013).

2016-2017: Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Random House, 2014).

2015-2016: G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, Ms. Marvel: No Normal, v. 1 (Marvel Comics, 2015).

The One Read Committee alternates between fiction and non-fiction in order to provide students with the best possible range of important and influential readings.

Planning and Symposium Committees

Anyone interested in joining the Planning and Symposium Committee should contact Dr. Rachel Harper.


For 2018-19 the following individuals are charged to develop, plan, and carry out the programming that makes One Read such a success:

J.D. Bowers, Honors College

Kristina Bradley, Honors College

Alex Socarides, English Department

Rachel Harper, Honors College

Riley Messer, MU Junior, Cherng Summer Scholar


For 2017-18 the following individuals helped develop, plan, and carry out the programming:

J.D. Bowers, Honors College

Kristina Bradley, Honors College

Carli Conklin, Law School and Kinder Institute

Rachel Harper, Honors College

Darcy Holtgrave, Honors College

Tori Schafer, MU Senior, It’s On Us Campaign

Chris Walters, MU RSVP Center


For 2016-17 the following individuals helped develop, plan, and carry out the programming:

One Read Planning Committee                                         One Read Symposiums

Cynthia Bassett, Law School                                                Thomas Coulter, Sophomore

J.D. Bowers, Honors College                                                Martha Dragich, Law School

Kristina Bradley, Honors College                                          Maya Gibson, School of Music

Rachel Harper, Honors College                                            Habib A. Hassan, 2L Law School

Darcy Holtgrave, Honors College                                          Michael Middleton, President UM System

Frankie Minor, Residential Life                                              Jessica M. Peterman, 2L Law School

Nathan Winters, Residential Life                                           Vera Tan, Senior

Tracy Wilson-Kleecamp, University Athletics