Wittenberg University welcomes J.D. Vance as the guest speaker for the Fred R. Leventhal Family Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30 at Pam Evans Smith Arena as the 2017-2018 Wittenberg Series continues.
Author of the No. 1 New York Times' best-seller Hillbilly Elegy, Vance was a principal at a leading Silicon Valley investment firm until moving back to Columbus, Ohio, in March 2017 to work for Revolution LLC, owned by AOL founder Steve Case. His address is titled “Hillbilly Elegy: A Culture in Crisis.”
Vance grew up in the Rust Belt city of Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Ky. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after high school and served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He went on to graduate from The Ohio State University and Yale Law School, and is a frequent contributor to the National Review and The New York Times. He has also appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC, and recently presented a Ted Talk on America’s Forgotten Working Class.
His work now involves making venture capital investments in places that have been overlooked by most investors. Vance, in particular, focuses on innovative and transformative sectors of the economy as an investor. Revolution concentrates on bolstering entrepreneurship and disruptive, high-growth companies outside of the sphere of Silicon Valley. Upon his return to Ohio, Vance also founded Our Ohio Renewal, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the state’s opioid crisis and bringing high-quality employment and educational opportunities to Ohioans.
Described by the National Review as a “brilliant book” and by The Economist as “one of the most important” reads of 2016, Hillbilly Elegy is a searing portrait of the lives of the white working class, providing timely perspective on the rise of political populism and the growing concerns of many Americans. His examination of his upbringing strikes a chord with audiences as he shares the personal impact of a social, regional and economic decline. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment have announced plans to produce a movie based on Vance's book.
Now in its 35th year, the Wittenberg Series brings distinguished lecturers and performing artists of national and international prominence to the Wittenberg campus and Springfield community. To make special arrangements, request a Series poster, or become a friend of the Wittenberg Series, contact Lisa Watson at WatsonL4@wittenberg.edu. All Wittenberg Series events are free and open to the public.
Additional 2017-2018 Wittenberg Series Events:
Tuesday, Nov. 14: Allen J. Koppenhaver Literary Lecture, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium featuring Iraqi poet Dunya Mikhail. Colloquium, 4:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium.
Friday, Dec. 8: Lessons and Carols, 7:30 p.m. (Pre-service music at 7 p.m.), Weaver Chapel.
Monday, Jan. 15, 2018: Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation, 11:15 a.m., Weaver Chapel, featuring Bernadette Evans '89, community activist and author. Q & A, 3:30 p.m., 105 Joseph C. Shouvlin Center for Lifelong Learning.
Monday & Tuesday, Feb. 5-6, 2018: Visual Arts Residency, 7:30 p.m., Springfield City School District's John Legend Theater at The Dome with documentary filmmaker, Elisabeth Haviland James. In celebration of Black History Month, there will be screenings of the films Althea (Monday) and The Loving Story (Tuesday).
Wednesday, March 21, 2018: IBM Endowed Lecture in the Sciences, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium featuring evolutionary biologist Dr. Sean B. Carroll. Colloquium, 4 p.m., Bayley Auditorium.
Monday, March 26, 2018: William A. Kinnison Endowed Lecture in History, 7:30 p.m., Weaver Chapel, featuring Annette Gordon-Reed, Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard University and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.
For more information on the Wittenberg Series, click here.