W. David Baird Distinguished Lecture Series
J.D. Vance: "Hillbilly Elegy: A Culture in Crisis"
Tuesday, October 24, 2017, Smothers Theatre, 5:00 p.m.
J.D. Vance is an investor, commentator, and author of the #1 New York Times best seller Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, described by the National Review as a "brilliant book" and by The Economist as "one of the most important reads of 2016." Ron Howard and Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment have announced plans to produce a movie based on Vance's book.
Raised by his working-class grandparents in Middletown, Ohio, Vance graduated from Middletown High School in 2003 and then immediately enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in the Marines, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
When he finished his four-year enlistment, Vance enrolled at Ohio State University, where he studied political science and philosophy, and helped coordinate the university's bipartisan voter education drive in 2008. After graduating from college, he studied at Yale Law School, where he worked at Yale's Veterans Legal Services Clinic, providing free legal counsel to veterans of our nation's wars in Vietnam and Iraq. Vance earned his law degree in 2013.
After a stint at a large corporate law firm, Vance moved to San Francisco to work in the technology industry. He serves as a principal at the leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Mithril Capital, cofounded by Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan. As an investor, Vance has taken a special interest in the biotechnology industry and other transformative sectors of the economy.
In early 2017, Vance joined as a partner in AOL founder Steve Case's venture capital company, Revolution LLC, which concentrates on bolstering entrepreneurship and disruptive, high-growth companies outside of the sphere of Silicon Valley. He also returned home to Ohio to found Our Ohio Renewal, a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the state's opioid crisis and bringing high-quality employment and educational opportunities to Ohioans.
He regularly discusses politics and public policy, having appeared on ABC, CBS, and FOX News, and currently serving as a contributor on CNN. Vance lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife and two dogs, where he works on his nonprofit an investment activities.