Frequently Asked Questions

In "Hillbilly Elegy," J.D. Vance—a former marine who served in Iraq and who is a graduate of Ohio State and of Yale Law School—narrates his story of growing up in Middletown, Ohio, in a family with strong Appalachian roots. 

From the book cover:  “With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.  A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, "Hillbilly Elegyis the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.”

The Common Reading Experience is a BGSU tradition, started in 2001. It is one way to connect students academically and to foster a sense of community among the incoming first year students, faculty, and staff. It encourages students to read beyond textbooks and provides an introduction to the expectations of higher education.

  • Course integrated experiences (such as in depth discussion, written assignments, projects) in select sections of first year courses – including General Studies Writing (GSW 1100, 1110, or 1200).
  • Campus-wide programming throughout the academic year.
  • Discussions/programs in residence halls.

There will be two campus visits in the fall. J.D. Vance will come to campus on November 29 and Clarence Page, a pulitzer-winning journalist, will be on campus October 26.  Learn more and register. 

The book is available at Falcon Outfitters, online and at the BGSU library. There book is also available electronically.

  • Students learn about this program during their SOAR (summer registration) visit to campus. They are told that the book is required reading at SOAR.
  • A reminder will also be sent directly to students’ email accounts later in the summer.

All incoming first year students.

Students are not expected to write a paper about the book during the summer before they come to campus. They should come to campus in August having read the book and expecting to write about the book in their GSW classes or in some other classes during the Fall or Spring semesters.

Yes, all new students are asked to read the Common Read as it will be used in a variety of courses, as well as incorporated into other programming.

Donna Nelson-Beene
Director of BG Perspective/Provost Office Associate
269 Hayes Hall