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Common Reading Program welcomes author Mary Roach

PULLMAN —San Francisco author Mary Roach will visit WSU on Tuesday, Sept. 16, to present the annual guest lecture for the freshman Common Reading Program.

“May I Show You Our Whale Tapeworm? (Why I Love Research and You Should Too)” is the title of her public presentation set for 7 p.m. that evening in the Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum. The event is open to the public at no charge. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

“Mary Roach is the author of our 2008 Common Reading book, ‘Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers,’ and we are very excited that she is coming to campus to interact with our students, faculty and staff,” said Susan Poch, associate vice president, Office of Student Achievement.

In addition to visiting classes and other activities, Roach will sign copies of her book at 3 p.m. Tuesday in The Bookie.

On Monday, Sept. 15, Roach will participate in a question-and-answer session with students, faculty and staff at 7:30 p.m. in the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education (CUE), room 203.

“Her book is being read by about 3,500 students this semester, and dozens of professors from many disciplines are using the book in their classrooms,” said Karen Weathermon, director, WSU Learning Communities. 

Students in Freshman Focus, WSU’s living-learning community, are also enjoying activities related to the book and its themes in their residence halls. WSU Libraries and the Museum of Art are among the many campus units that are participating in enlivening this WSU first-year experience of students.

New to the program this year is “Common Reading Tuesdays,” featuring evening presentations by faculty on their research and interest areas that are related to “Stiff” topics. Those include descriptions of exploring DNA in ancient human remains, forensic investigations using insects and plants, and perceptions of body image. A traveling Frankenstein exhibit, movie showings, museum displays, and panel discussions round out the Common Reading semester.

For more information on Roach’s presentation and the Common Reading program, visit

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