Esbenshade Series features author of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’

From staff reports

J.D. Vance, a Middletown native and author of the best-selling 2016 book “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” will speak at Marietta College as part of the 2017-18 Esbenshade Series.

Vance’s presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8 in the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center. The program is free and open to the public, but tickets are limited to the first 400 people.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and tickets are limited to one per person. A short Q&A session will follow his presentation, as will a book signing. A limited supply of Vance’s book will be on sale.

“We are anticipating considerable interest from the college and the community at large,” said Tanya Wilder, director of the Esbenshade Series. “It is exciting to be able to offer someone as widely known and highly sought after at no charge to the community. However, we are limited to only 400 seats, so we encourage anyone who is interested in attending to be in line when the doors open to ensure getting a ticket.”

Vance grew up in Middletown and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Ky. After high school, he enlisted in the Marines and served in Iraq. He then attended and graduated from The Ohio State University and Yale Law School. He has contributed to the National Review and the New York Times. Vance has also appeared on FOX News, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC.

In recent weeks, Vance has been urged by key Republicans to make a run at the Ohio Senate seat currently held by Democrat Sherrod Brown.

In his book, Vance offers a personal account of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town with a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s working class. The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love,” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild.

The lecture is made possible by the Frederica G. Esbenshade Memorial Fund, which provides annual income for the purpose of bringing lectures, performing artists or programs of diverse nature to the campus for public appearances. The endowed fund was established in 1980 by Harry H. Esbenshade Sr. and Harry H. Esbenshade Jr., husband and son, respectively, of the late Mrs. Esbenshade of Uniontown, Pa. All events in the Esbenshade Series are free and open to the public.