SAC presents Vanderbilt program and dinner

Staff report

January 22, 2014

The Surry Arts Council will present Elliot Engel’s program “The Vanderbilts: ALL of Them” on Jan. 29 at 6:30 pm, at Trio Restaurant and Bar. The presentation will follow the dinner.

Engel will explore the lives and legacies of this American dynasty from Cornelius Vanderbilt, born in the 18th century, to Gloria Vanderbilt, early developer of the designer blue jeans. What emerges is, according to Heather Elliot with Surry Arts council, “a fascinating story of riches, wretched excess, and real, raw, emotional lives.”

Originally from Indianapolis, Ind., Engel lives in Raleigh, where he has taught at the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Duke University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at UCLA. While at UCLA he won that university’s Outstanding Teacher Award.

Engel has written ten books, published in England, Japan, and the United States. His mini-lecture series on Charles Dickens ran on PBS television stations around the country. His articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and national magazines including Newsweek. He has lectured throughout the United States and on all the continents including Antarctica. Four plays he has written have been produced during the last ten years

Engel continues to teach outside the classroom and give literary and historical programs throughout the world. He is lecturing as part of “The Best of Our State” programming in conjunction with “Our State” magazine. He presents assemblies at elementary, middle, and high schools, and his educational CDs are used in classrooms around the country. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking, and vacationing in exotic locations, where he said he is not asked to deliver even one lecture.

For additional information or to reserve a space for the dinner/lecture, call the Surry Arts Council at 786-7998 or email The program will be held at Trio Restaurant and Bar on the corner of Main and Oak Streets in Mount Airy. Tickets for the dinner and presentation are $55 per person and reservations are required.