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Eric Liu

Eric LiuEric Liu, author of The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker, will visit campus Tuesday to address the Class of 2016.

Liu will speak at 1 p.m. on Tuesday in Thompson-Boling Arena. The event is open to the public and free parking is available in G-10 parking garage.

The common reading selection is a key component in UT’s efforts to orient and engage new students in academic and campus life. Freshmen also must submit creative projects on one of the book’s themes and attend a small-group discussion session.

“By the time students have read the book, done their creative projects, and participated in a discussion group, they have a good feel for what college work is going to feel like,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan Martin. “As a bonus for our students, we plan the Life of the Mind common reading program with the intent of having the author come to campus to talk to students. It’s a rich experience to meet the author, hear him speak, and even have the opportunity to ask him a question.”

The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker, was a New York Times Notable Book and was featured in the PBS documentary Matters of Race. It is an essay montage with themes ranging from race, language, and global politics to the feelings of inadequacy and ambivalence that often accompany the college transition.

Liu, a second-generation Chinese-American, is a graduate of Yale and Harvard and a former speechwriter and deputy domestic policy adviser for President Bill Clinton.

His other books include The True Patriot and The Gardens of Democracy, both co-authored with Nick Hanauer; Guiding Lights: How to Mentor and Find Life’s Purpose, which was named the official book of National Mentoring Month; and Imagination First, co-authored with Scott Noppe-Brandon of the Lincoln Center Institute, which explores ways to unlock imagination in education, politics, business, and the arts.

Liu lives in Seattle, where he also teaches at the University of Washington and leads the Guiding Lights Network, a national mentoring organization dedicated to promoting great citizenship. He also hosts an acclaimed television interview program called Seattle Voices.

Liu has served on the boards of the Washington State Board of Education, the Seattle Public Library, Demos, Washington State Mentors, the League of Education Voters, and the Swedish Medical Center Foundation. He has served on the national leadership councils of Communities in Schools and the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

Elizabeth Schonagen, First Year Studies program (865-974-2792,