Rebecca Bott-Knutson, dean of South Dakota State University’s Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College, revealed Wednesday “Crossing the Line” is the Common Read selection for the upcoming academic year.
Written by Kareem Rosser, the selection is about his life and serving as captain of the first all-black squad to win the National Interscholastic Polo Championship. Rosser will speak at the Griffith Honors Forum Lecture Nov. 1. Other Common Read events will be announced when available.
“I think this selection has a lot of themes with broad appeal that will provide access points for SDSU community members, even if they aren’t familiar with the sport of polo or the lived experience of an author growing up in West Philadelphia,” said Toby Uecker, SDSU’s dean of students and a member of the Common Read committee.
“The book’s subtitle, ‘A Fearless Team of Brothers and the Sport That Changed Their Lives Forever,’ highlights the importance of Rosser’s family—who are also, in many cases, his teammates—and the transformational journey that he catalogs from the Work to Ride stables to elite private boarding school to collegiate polo championships to work as a financial analyst,” Uecker continued.
Uecker said one of the strengths of this Common Read selection is that it tells a story from a perspective that is likely to be new to many SDSU readers while staying focused on some really universal experiences, feelings and challenges.
“’Crossing the Line’ can feel familiar to athletes who know the drive of competition, to family members who have navigated tough times with the people they care about most, to riders who know instinctively the feel of making a connection with their horse, to learners who have benefited from a great mentor, and to anyone who has learned something from their own success or failure,” Uecker said. “The book digs into a time of Rosser’s life that’s comparable to the age of a lot of our first-time students, so I think there will be chances for students to reflect on their own personal journeys as they read about the journeys of Kareem and his brothers.”
The campus and community Common Read serves as a vehicle for academic challenge and supports the cross-curricular mission of enhancing diversity, inclusion, equity and access. Bott-Knutson said it’s an opportunity for students to share in a common intellectual experience with one another and with faculty and staff. It further showcases the robust relationship between the Brookings community and SDSU and how both invest in an enriching educational experience.