Summer Reading

Hillbilly Elegy book cover

Miami welcomes new students to its engaged community of learners through the Summer Reading Program. In this important tradition, now 36 years old, we underline those activities we value most as a community: critical engagement with ideas; close interaction among faculty, staff, and students; and reading, listening, reflecting, talking, and learning as characteristics of active, responsible citizenship. As your introduction to the types of dialogues in which you will engage with other learners at Miami, the Summer Reading Program asks all new students to read a book during the summer and to return to campus in August prepared to discuss it with fellow students and others in breakout sessions.

Participation in the Summer Reading Program is your first assignment as a university student. Your willingness to take the assignment seriously and to participate actively in group discussions in August may have important influences on your subsequent achievements as a Miami student.

2017 Book

The 2017 Summer Reading book is Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance. The reading focuses on issues of culture, class and the role of education with emphasis on our region. Stephen T. Williams, Mayor of Huntington, West Virginia will be our convocation speaker. Huntington has been named America's Best Community as part of a revitalization initiative that addresses many of the issues highlighted in the book.

For more on the Summer Reading Program and Hillbilly Elegy, visit Miami's Office of Liberal Education website.

Receiving, Reading, and Discussing Your Book

Each new student will receive a copy of the Summer Reading book at summer orientation. After orientation, read your book before returning to campus in August. Then, you will attend discussion groups of first-year students, upperclass student leaders, faculty, and staff to discuss the book. The Summer Reading book is most often an interesting and engaging text, and is always an important experience for the new student class and the Miami community. If you need additional motivation for reading, note that the Summer Reading book is also commonly used in first-year classes, and may be included in graded assignments early in the semester.