Westmont Magazine A Little Light Reading
Sohphomore Starts a Book Club to Read Classic Western Works
Walking through the Westmont library one day, Josh Nunziato ’08 noticed a set of lovely, leather-bound books in the philosophy section. The gold-foil title caught his attention: “Great Books of the Western World.” Holding one of the heavy volumes in his hand, he discovered that the series spans the centuries and the disciplines. “What an amazing exposure to Western tradition,” he thought.
Josh immediately wanted to read all 50 books. With encouragement from Professor Andrew Mullen, he started a book club with fellow students. The provost’s office provided funding for books and refreshments, and a small group started meeting about every other week. They discuss as they read and invite faculty to share their perspectives. During two semesters, the students have finished four works: “The Brothers Karamazov,” “Gulliver’s Travels,” “Don Quixote” and Dante’s “Inferno.”
Serious reading is nothing new for Josh. “I have a passion for philosophy and theology and that’s what I read last summer,” he says. “I’m particularly interested in exploring issues raised in modern philosophy.”
Josh also encourages dialogue as editor of the Voice section of the Horizon, the student newspaper. “My goal is to raise substantive issues that are appropriate for Westmont students,” he says. “I want to get people to think about what it means to hold Christ preeminent in various areas. For example, how do we hold Christ preeminent in dealing with the homeless?”
Josh came to Westmont as one of the prestigious Monroe Scholars and receives a full-tuition scholarship. A bequest from Kenneth and Peggy Monroe funds the award for up to four students each year.
“I felt compelled to go to a Christian school,” Josh says. “My goal was to further cement my faith and explore issues I had not fully resolved in understanding and implementing what I believe. By majoring in both philosophy and religious studies, I can explore the basis and grounding for faith on an abstract level within the Christian tradition. I can discover how to make my faith real and seriously confront the challenges of post-modern and modern philosophy. That will give me a more significant understanding of what it means to follow Jesus Christ.”
When he enrolled at Westmont, Josh planned to go to law school after graduating. Now he thinks about attending an Ivy League graduate school or seminary to earn a doctorate in theology or philosophy. Incorporating his faith into his vocational goals and direction has become important to him.
Josh grew up near Sequoia National Park, where his father directs Hartland Christian Camp. His mother homeschooled Josh and his younger brother; the nearest high school was more than an hour away.
“Homeschooling demands a high level of self-motivation,” Josh says. “It prepared me well for college, which is more self-directed than high school.” He hopes to study at Oxford University next year during a semester abroad. Doing tutorials with professors and studying with small groups appeals strongly to him.
At Westmont, Josh appreciates the opportunities to develop a Christian world view. “I’m exploring the significance and reality of my faith and how it relates to the world,” he says. “It’s phenomenal.”