March 9, 2023
A banner image for the Common reading Presentation and Book Signing with Jose Antonio Vargas

On March 28, The W.A. Franke Honors College will be hosting Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and theatrical producer Jose Antonio Vargas, for an evening of sharing & book signing.

Vargas is acclaimed for being a leading voice for the human rights of immigrants, as well as, in 2011, revealing his own identity as one of the most well-known undocumented citizens in the United States.

His book, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, brings readers into his life story—detailing his journey from the Philippines into America, learning the truth of his identity, his activism regarding immigration reform, and later re-connecting with his mother whom he had been separated from for over 20 years.

The visit from Vargas was initiated as a part of the W.A. Franke Honors College Common Reading Program, a program within honors designed to facilitate learning and community amongst students around a common experience—in this case, reading. Students are encouraged to read the book and engage in discussion and activities connected with it.

Dr. Cheree Meeks, Assistant Dean of Programs, Diversity & Inclusion, leads the Common Reading program. She, along with a group of students, selected Vargas’ book as the 2022-23 Common Reading book for its powerful story and potential to spark meaningful dialogue.

Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, explores Vargas’ own journey, as well as the struggles of countless other undocumented immigrants in America. In his book, Vargas poignantly explores one of the most divisive questions facing our country today: how do you define “American”?

The conversation with Vargas will take place on March 28, from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Gallagher Theatre in the University of Arizona Student Union. The event is open to the Tucson community and will be followed by a Q & A with Vargas and a book signing.