Watson and Warber are particularly excited about their Oct. 30 program.
MORE: Springfield’s Wittenberg to announce next president of university
Ohio native J.D. Vance’s book “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” has topped New York Times Best Seller list twice since its June 2016 release.
The book traces Vance’s family’s challenging Appalachian roots and his fortune to take his life in a different direction, graduating from Ohio State University and Yale Law School.
He explores the region’s social impact and his observations of how culture influences life decisions. “Hillbilly Elegy” became one of the most talked-about books of the last several years.
“We’re very excited to have gotten him at the right time just as the book was coming out,” said Warber. “He’s very much in demand right now.”
Poet Dunya Mikhail escaped Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s rule after being questioned for her writings, became a U.S. citizen and earned awards for her work.
She’ll be the featured Koppenhaver Literary Lecture speaker on Nov. 14 and stay around the campus to attend classes and participate in a colloquium before the lecture.
Documentary filmmaker Elisabeth Haviland James will be the second film arts lecturer the Visual Arts Residency has had. She’ll show two of her films at the John Legend Theater – “Althea” about one of the first female African-American tennis players, Althea Gibson on Feb. 5 and “The Loving Story,” which earned her an Emmy for Best Historical Program on Feb. 6.
James will discuss her work following the screenings.
MORE: First female Wittenberg science prof leaves $2.3M to university
Another special highlight will be a festival choral service on Oct. 29 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. There is also the annual Martin Luther King Convocation on Jan. 15, and the series will wrap up with the Kinnison Endowed Lecture in History with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annette Gordon-Reed on March 26.
Some programs will feature question and answer and colloquium sessions prior to the lectures. Events will be on the Wittenberg campus at the Bayley Auditorium, Weaver Chapel or Pam Evans Smith Arena at 7:30 p.m. except where noted.
“I feel we have a good array of diverse people – authors, history, arts, science,” Watson said. “Our big goal is to draw in the Springfield community.
“This is not just academic; we’ve really tried to help it evolve. We hope it gets people out of their homes, away from televisions to learn about something they didn’t know about on our campus.”
For more information on the series, go to www.wittenberg.edu/about-wittenberg/art/wittenberg-series.
2017-2018 Wittenberg Series Schedule
Opening Convocation 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 22 in Weaver Chapel. “First Things First,” Dr. Michael Frandsen, Wittenberg University President
Concert 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 in Weaver Chapel. Seraph Brass will perform
Festival Choral Service to Commemorate the Reformation 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29 in Weaver Chapel. Music begins at 7
Leventhal Lecture 7:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 30, in Pam Evans Smith Arena, HPER Center. “Hillbilly Elegy: A Culture in Crisis,” J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy”
Koppenhaver Literary Lecture 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14 in Bayley Auditorium. Dunya Mikhail, poet. A colloquium will precede at 4:30 p.m. in Bayley Auditorium
Lessons & Carols 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 in Weaver Chapel. Music begins at 7 p.m.
Martin Luther King Convocation 11:15 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15 in Weaver Chapel. “Assignment of Fire,” Bernadette Evans, Class of 1989. A question and answer session will follow at 3:30 p.m. in the Shouvlin Center
Visual Arts Residency: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5 and Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the John Legend Theater. Elisabeth Haviland James, documentary filmmaker, screenings of “Althea” and “The Loving Story” followed by discussions
IBM Endowed Lecture in the Sciences 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21 in Bayley Auditorium. “The Serengeti Rules,” Sean B. Carroll, evolutionary biologist and author of “The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters.” A colloquium will precede at 4 p.m. in Bayley Auditorium
Kinnison Endowed Lecture in History 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 26 in Weaver Chapel. “Jefferson in the Time of ‘Hamilton,’” Annette Gordon-Reed, author of “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family”