August 18, 2017

USJ 2017 Common Read: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The University of Saint Joseph will host “Common Read” to foster a love of reading and greater sense of community through the shared experiences of reading the same book – one that brings about critical thinking, conversation, and involvement by all members of the USJ community. This year’s choice is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skoot.

The book centers around an African-American woman named Henrietta Lacks in the 1950s. While receiving treatment for cervical cancer, doctors took her cells without her knowledge. Her cells, known as HeLa to scientists, were essential in developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. The family of Henrietta Lacks found this out 25 years later and had a lot to say.

Join us Friday, August 25th at 3:45pm in McGovern Dining Hall for an intellectual conversation and discussion about The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

Other Events Include:

Henrietta Lacks: A Mercy Core Values Perspective

12–1 p.m. September 6, 7

Library Classroom

Led by Antoinette Collins and Renee Lavoie

Come grab a free bookmark and dessert for a conversation about the relationship between Henrietta Lacks and USJ’s Mercy Core Values.


Henrietta Lacks, the Mother of Modern Science

12–1 p.m. October 4, 5

Library Classroom


Dinner Panel Discussion: Between the Lines – Deepening our Understanding of Henrietta’s Life and Her Cells

5:30 p.m. September 13

McGovern Cafeteria and via Facebook Livestream

Join professors Nancy Billias, Lucinda Canty, Catherine Hoyser, Irene Reed for dinner and a Common Read panel discussion. A reduced-price dinner will be available by Café Bon Appetit.


Lunch and Learn: Hands on HeLa Cells – A Lab Investigation of Immortalized Cancer Cells

12–1 p.m. November 8

McDonough Hall, Room 101

Interested in learning more about the science behind Henrietta Lacks’ story? Participate in a lab activity during a lunch and learn session.