A Shared Conversation

In 2004, Dr. Denise Trauth, former President of Texas State University, announced an initiative designed to cultivate a common intellectual conversation across the campus. "Early on, the vision was to connect entering students to a shared conversation," Trauth said in 2008, "but it quickly grew to include upper-level classes, student support services, campus activities, performing arts, and the San Marcos schools and community. The intentional connecting of many facets of university life is the kind of project that a small private liberal arts college might take on, but we cannot find evidence of a large public university ever having undertaken something so ambitious and encompassing."

Previous Themes

Each year since 2004, Texas State has presented an academic theme with events for everyone — students, faculty, staff, and community members. Pictured here: death-row exoneree Anthony Graves speaks to a capacity crowd in Evans Auditorium about our 2017-18 theme, The Search for Justice.

Anthony Graves onstage in a dress shirt and vest, holding a microphone
Erin Brockovich speaks to a massive crowd outside the LBJ Student Center, 2007

Previous Speakers

The Common Experience at Texas State has hosted some of the world's most iconic and distinguished voices, from poet Maya Angelou to astronaut José Hernández. Pictured here: environmental activist Erin Brockovich addresses a massive crowd in 2007.

Numerous Common Reading books on display, including titles "The Runaway Species" and "What the Eyes Don't See"

Previous Books

We provide all incoming first-year students with a powerful Common Reading book related to the year's theme.