ND Readslink to Woman's Place Project 30th Celebration page

Each year Notre Dame selects a book to read and discuss as a community of students, faculty, alums and friends. Books are selected that explore and deepen our school's culture of Education for Justice and Leadership by engaging our community in academic scholarship and intentional dialogue that reflects our Catholic identity.

In addition to reading the book and discussing underlying themes throughout the integrated school program, students and the community typically meet the author during a campus visit in the fall. In the past fifteen years, through this ND Reads program, our school community has touched on many topics.  We have traveled to Africa to study the Rwandan genocide, journeyed with a young monk seal and learned about climate change from his perspective, explored how to stand in kinship with gang members, and memorialized the 60th anniversary of integrating schools in Little Rock, Arkansas, just to name a few.  

18th Annual ND Reads

For the 2024-25 academic year, our community-wide read is Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa. Written by acclaimed journalist, Marilyn Chase, this biography chronicles Asawa's captivating life and career. This year's selection honors two local women and celebrates the 30th anniversary of Notre Dame's Woman's Place Project. We are proud to create space for women to showcase the accomplishments of other women leaders as they develop their own pathways to becoming women of impact. Immerse yourself in the experience. Celebrate with us!

The Book: Everything She Touched

Everything She Touched by Marilyn Chase

Born in California in 1926, Ruth Asawa grew from a farmer's daughter into a celebrated sculptor. She survived an adolescence in the Japanese American internment camps during World War II, attended the groundbreaking art school at Black Mountain College, fought through lupus and revolutionized arts education in her adopted hometown of San Francisco.

She forged an unconventional path in everything she did – whether raising a multiracial family of six children, founding a high school dedicated to the arts, or pursuing her own practice independent of the New York art market. Her beloved fountains are now San Francisco icons, and her signature hanging-wire sculptures grace the MoMA, de Young, SFMOMA, Whitney and many more museums and galleries across America.  

In this compelling biography, Marilyn Chase brings Asawa's story to vivid life. She draws on Asawa's extensive archives and weaves together many voices – family, friends, teachers, and critics – to offer a complex and fascinating portrait of the artist. With photographs and artworks reproduced throughout the book, this is a richly visual volume that invites readers to step inside Asawa's story. 

Courtesy of marilynchase.com

The Author: Marilyn Chase

Marilyn Chase

Author Marilyn Chase knew she wanted to be a writer from the 3rd grade on and was lucky enough to realize her childhood dream. Born in Los Angeles and educated in the public schools of Hawthorne, California, she graduated from Stanford University with honors in English Literature and earned a Master's Degree in Journalism at the University of California at Berkeley.  

A former reporter, columnist and senior special writer at The Wall Street Journal for over 20 years, she covered many beats and focused principally on healthcare and medical science. She has taught journalism to graduate students at both Stanford and Berkeley.

Chase is the author of two books. Her most recent is Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa (Chronicle Books, 2020), a biography of the San Francisco sculptor who survived discrimination and wrongful imprisonment in a World War II internment camp to make transcendently beautiful art and champion teaching the arts to children. Previously, she wrote The Barbary Plague: The Black Death in Victorian San Francisco (Random House, 2003), the true story of an epidemic in San Francisco's Chinatown in 1900, when doctors had to fight anti-Chinese bias to quash an outbreak of disease threatening the city.

Chase lives in the Bay Area with her family. In her spare time, she loves tennis, cycling, yoga, cooking, gardening and hanging out with her husband, son, daughter and five grandchildren.

Courtesy of marilynchase.com

The Art:

Asawa's art can be viewed in person. Please refer to the following map.


A Dream Called Home: A Memoir
Reyna Grande


The Color of Air
by Gail Tsukiyama


World of Wonders
by Aimee Nezhukumatathil


A Place for Us
by Fatima Farheen Mirza '09


The Color of Law
by Richard Rothstein
Reaching Out
by Francisco Jimenez


The Monk of Mokha
by Dave Eggers


Lessons From Little Rock
by Terrence Roberts


Stealing Buddha's Dinner
by Bich Minh Nguyen


The Odyssey of KP2: An Orphan Seal and  Marine Biologist's Fight to Save a Species
by Terrie M. Williams


La Verdad
by Mary Jo Ignoffo & Lucia Cerna


Tattoos on the Heart
by Gregory Boyle, S.J.


I'm Not Leaving
by Carl Wilkins


Enrique's Journey
by Sonia Nazario


A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini


The Distant Land of My Fathers
by Bo Caldwell


Funny in Farsi
by Firoozeh Dumas


Three Cups of Tea
by Greg Mortenson & David Oliver Relin