Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

Community College of Allegheny County

02/22/2012 -- CCAC kicks off “The Big Read in Pittsburgh” with March 4 event

For more information contact CCAC Public Relations

PITTSBURGH—The Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) will kick-off a month-long series of outreach events designed to promote literacy, reading and community engagement with a free community event, The Big Read in Pittsburgh, held March 4 at 5:00 p.m. at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. The event follows recent recognition of the initiative from Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Council. 

Mr. Ravenstahl has proclaimed March 4, 2012, “Big Read Day” in the city of Pittsburgh. In addition, at yesterday’s meeting, Allegheny County Council recognized CCAC’s participation in the national Big Read program through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). 

The Big Read in Pittsburgh is a project of the CCAC One College…One Community initiative, an innovative partnership among CCAC and local school districts, libraries, correctional facilities and other organizations focusing on the discussion of a novel and its themes. The initiative focuses on Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, the book selected for this year’s The Big Read program. First published amid controversy in 1937, before being rescued from obscurity four decades later, Hurston’s novel narrates the transformation of a vibrant, but voiceless, teenage girl into a woman with her finger on the trigger of her own destiny.  

Lucy Anne Hurston, niece of Zora Neale Hurston, will be the guest speaker at the kickoff for The Big Read in Pittsburgh which also features a theatrical presentation and live music. The event is free and open to the public; those individuals interested in attending should RSVP by February 29 to 412.469.6301 or 

The Big Read, a program of the NEA in partnership with Arts Midwest, provides communities nationwide with the opportunity to read, discuss and celebrate one of a number of selections from U.S. and world literature. CCAC is one of 76 organizations nationwide—and one of only two in Pennsylvania—to receive the grant. 

Throughout March, students in several Allegheny County high schools and English and history students at CCAC will be studying the book. The students will also participate in essay, poetry, art and project contests. Libraries will host book discussions and film screenings. CCAC faculty and administrators will also facilitate book discussions among inmates at the State Correctional Institution of Pittsburgh and residents at Shuman Juvenile Detention Center and Renewal Inc. 

Besides CCAC and the August Wilson Center, the One College…One Community partnership includes Steel Valley High School, Andrew Street High School, Woodland Hills High School, Wilkinsburg High School, Communities in Schools, Northside Urban Pathway Charter School, Imani Christian Academy, Pleasant Hills Library, Carnegie Library of Homestead, Monroeville Public Library, the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, Shuman Juvenile Detention Center, the State Correctional Institution of Pittsburgh and Renewal Inc. 

For further information on any of the One College…One Community events, please call 412.469.630, email or visit, search keywords “Big Read 2012.” 


About the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)
CCAC annually educates 33,000 credit students through 170 degree, certificate and transfer programs and offers non-credit and workforce development courses to 30,000 students. The learning-centered institution’s mission is to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society. CCAC’s quality programs enable students to transfer credits to 520 colleges and universities and support regional workforce needs with accessible instruction available day, evening, weekend and online in Allegheny County and beyond. Visit to learn more.