MTSU's Community Summer Reading Program was created in 2002 under the direction of Laurie Witherow, the Associate Vice Provost for Admissions and Enrollment Services. The objectives of the program are to:

  • provide a unifying experience for the entering class of students,
  • partner with Murfreesboro community organizations,
  • encourage intellectual interaction among students,
  • provide students with the opportunity to read and personally interact with critically-acclaimed authors, and
  • affirm the importance of reading for a successful and fulfilling life.

During CUSTOMS, all incoming freshman students receive packets that include a Summer Reading Guide, information about the author, and a list of course sections using the book selection for the Fall. In its first year, over 100 different course sections from three different academic colleges participated, along with six reading groups from the local community! More than 7,500 people attended last Fall's University Convocation where our guest author was invited to speak.



We are excited to announce that this year’s Summer Reading selection will be Hillbilly Elegy, written by J.D. Vance. J.D. Vance is a former Marine and a graduate of Yale Law School. He has contributed to the National Review and is principal at a leading Silicon Valley investment firm. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two dogs.

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.

We hope you will plan to join us in welcoming author J.D. Vance as he addresses the incoming class at Middle Tennessee State University as our 16th Summer Reading keynote speaker at this year’s Convocation.

Past Summer Reading Program Book Selections at MTSU

For more information about the Summer Reading Program, contact Kristen Russell via email at Kristen.Russell@mtsu.edu or via phone at (615) 898-2808.

Information adapted from https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062300546/hillbilly-elegy.