Nickel and Dimed Author to Speak at IWU President’s Convocation
August 18, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Barbara Ehrenreich, the acclaimed author whose numerous books
include the bestseller Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America, will deliver an address titled “Nickel and Dimed in America: A Minimum Wage Existence”
at Illinois Wesleyan University’s President’s Convocation on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at
11 a.m. in Westbrook Auditorium of Presser Hall (1210 Park St., Bloomington).
Also during her campus visit, Ehrenreich will participate in an informal classroom
session at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, in Beckman Auditorium, The Ames Library (1 Ames
While Nickel and Dimed discusses Ehrenreich’s endeavor to live on low-wage jobs, her most recent book, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, delves into her attempt to find a middle-class, white-collar job. Ehrenreich earned
her bachelor’s in physics from Reed College and her doctorate in biology from The
Rockefeller University. Yet she chose to focus her career on what she calls “social
change.” Her articles, reviews, essays and humor have appeared in a range of national
publications, including the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, TIME Magazine, and Harper’s.
Nickel and Dimed is the subject of this year’s Summer Reading Program at Illinois Wesleyan, which asks all first-year students to read the same text along
with faculty and staff volunteers, who gather for small group discussions during Fall
Festival orientation activities. The program “offers the entering class an example
of what to expect in four years on campus in terms of critical thinking, effective
communication, and the spirit of inquiry found both in and out of the classroom,”
said Carolyn Nadeau, coordinator of the First Year Advising Committee and professor
of Hispanic Studies.
Other events tied to the themes of Nickel and Dimed are planned during the academic year. These include a theatrical adaptation of Nickel and Dimed to be performed in the E. Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory Theatre Feb. 27-March
3, and a discussion panel on living wages in Central Illinois scheduled Wednesday,
Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. in Beckman Auditorium, The Ames Library. The panel, titled “The
Benefits and Costs of a Living Wage in Central Illinois,” will include panelists Todd
Kumler, a senior economics major; Jean Pretz, assistant professor of psychology; Steven
Purcell, alderman for Bloomington’s Ward 7; and Steve Stockton, mayor of Bloomington.
Contact: Ann Aubry, (309) 556-3181