J.D. Vance, an investor, commentator and author of the #1 New York Times best seller “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” will visit Columbus Academy on November 30 as the featured speaker for the school’s annual Celebration of Leadership.
After spending time with Academy upper school students during the day, Vance will present to leadership donors in the evening at the Party Barn at the Wexner Residence.
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 The 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 Ohio State, he studied at Yale Law School. During his time at Yale, he worked in the school’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, he moved to San Francisco to work in the technology industry. Vance serves as a principal at the leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Mithril Capital, cofounded by Peter Thiel and Ajay Royan. As an investor, he 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.
Vance regularly discusses politics and public policy, having appeared on ABC, CBS and FOX News. He currently serves as a contributor on CNN. Hillbilly Elegy has been 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.
Columbus Academy’s Celebration of Leadership is a thank you event and stimulus for leadership donors to the current school year’s Annual Fund sponsored by CA parents Abigail and Leslie Wexner. Leadership donors play a significant role in the school’s Annual Fund success, laying a foundation of over $1 million each year and impacting every student every day.