New Students

The Duke Common Experience Summer Reading Program

Common Experience Summer Reading

The Duke Summer Reading program is designed to introduce students to the academic climate at Duke University and to encourage discussion and intellectual dialogue among undergraduate students. The program was initiated during the 2001-2002 academic year from conversations between representatives from the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Office for Institutional Equity, and the Division of Student Affairs. The program is coordinated by the New Student & Family Programs Office in the Division of Student Affairs with significant involvement from the President’s Office, the Office of Undergraduate Education, Trinity College of Arts & Sciences, the Pratt School of Engineering, and the Duke student body.

We are currently reviewing nominations. Please submit any nominations for the Duke Common Experience by Tuesday, January 18. 

The Class of 2026 Common Experience will be announced in spring 2022.


  • To enrich the intellectual life of students.
  • To promote a shared/common experience among first-year students.
  • To prompt stimulating debate and lively discussion outside of the classroom.
  • To foster interaction between and among peers.


Past Selections

Check the list below to see what each class year has read as their Summer Read.

2025: Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid

2024: Know My Name, Chanel Miller

2023: There There, Tommy Orange

2022Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward

2021The Prince of Los Cocuyos, Richard Blanco

2020Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson

2019Fun Home, Alison Bechdel

2018Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

2017Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann

2016State of Wonder, Ann Patchett

2015Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer

2014Everything Matters, Ron Currie, Jr.

2013The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz

2012What is the What, David Eggers

2011Best of Enemies, Osha Gray Davidson

2010My Sister's Keeper, Judy Picoult

2009Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini

2008Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder

2007Savage Inequalities, Jonathan Kozol

2006The Palace Thief, Ethan Canin