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Book-in-Common Program Faces Cruel Chapter in History

October 8, 2007 - Collin College brings one story of the Cambodian Killing Fields to life this month through its second annual Book-in-Common program.

This year's featured book is "First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers" by Loung Ung, speaker, activist and author. The program, "Living to Tell," culminates with a lecture and book signing by Ung, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23, at the Spring Creek Campus Conference Center, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano.

The Book-in-Common program started last year with Daniel Wallace's "Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions" as a means of encouraging a multi-disciplinary dialogue among students, faculty, staff and the community. Last year, about 2,000 copies of Wallace's opus were ready by Collin College students. This year, about 2,500-3,000 copies of Ung's memoir are expected to be read as part of classes from sociology, psychology, history, political science, English and other disciplines.

"First They Killed My Father" captures the middle-class life of Ung as a 5-year-old living in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh when, in 1975, the Communist guerrilla faction Khmer Rouge mounted a successful coup sending most city dwellers to the countrysides to toil in government-sponsored agrarian camps. Between 1.2-1.7 million Cambodians perished during the Khmer Rouge's reign through 1979, including Ung's parents and sister.

Aside from Ung's lecture, a series of other events to support the program are scheduled:

Screening of "The Killing Fields"

    • 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 9 -- Angelika Film Center, at The Shops at Legacy, 7205 Bishop Road in Plano

    • 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 11 -- Preston Ridge Campus, F249, 9700 Wade Boulevard in Frisco

    • 1 p.m., Friday, Oct. 12 -- Central Park Campus, Pike Hall, 2200 W. University Drive in McKinney

    • 1 p.m., Monday, Oct. 15 -- Spring Creek Campus, C104, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano

"Cambodia: Her Culture & People" Pre-Author Roundtable

    • 3 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 16 -- Preston Ridge Campus, F148, 9700 Wade Boulevard in Frisco

    • 1 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 17 -- Spring Creek Campus, C104, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano

"Cambodia, Then & Now: Her History & Politics" Post-Author Roundtable

    • 1 p.m., Monday, Nov. 12 -- Spring Creek Campus Conference Center, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway in Plano

    • 3 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14 -- Preston Ridge Campus, F245, 9700 Wade Boulevard in Frisco

The Book-in-Common Program is a collaborative project created by the Center for Scholarly & Civic Engagement and co-sponsored by the Spring Creek Campus Communications & Humanities Division, Spring Creek Campus Social & Behavioral Sciences Division, academic deans at both the Preston Ridge and Central Park campuses, and the Honors Institute.

For more information, visit the Book-in-Common website at or call the Center for Scholarly and Civic Engagement at 972.881.5900.

Collin College serves more than 46,000 credit and continuing education students annually and offers more than 100 degree and certificate programs. The only public college in the county, Collin College is a partner to business, government and industry, providing customized training and work force development.