Distinguished Speaker Series 2016
Wes Moore – March 31 at 7 p.m. at the College Theater
Acclaimed author Wes Moore is a veteran, Rhodes Scholar and the founder of BridgeEDU. His most recent book, The Work, is a collection of, “…incredibly valuable lessons about what it means to create lives that matter…[it is] a way of exploring the meaning of success in a volatile, difficult, and seemingly anchorless world.” The book, which debuted at No. 15 on the New York Times Best Seller List, was received as a model for how we can weave valuable lessons together from supremely different people in order to forge individual paths to triumph. In reading this book, we can all begin to find our work at the “intersection between personal abilities and our power to use them to fix our broken world.”
Moore’s first book, The Other Wes Moore, is a story of mentorship and support networks who refused to let him fall into crime and drugs. It tells the tale of two kids with the same name living in the same decaying city. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar and White House Fellow after serving in the prestigious 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army, always relying on his faith during combat, not fear. The other is currently serving a life sentence for the killing of a police officer during an armed robbery. Burning with curiosity as to why he and the other Wes were so radically different, Moore investigated the man with the same name. The result was an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journalbestseller which captured the nation’s attention on what draws the line between success and failure in our communities.
An incredibly successful and sought-after speaker, Moore entrances audiences with his infectious zest for life. He has the rare ability to enthrall, inspire and engage, and captivate. He has been featured byUSA Today, Time Magazine, People Magazine, Meet the Press, The Colbert Report, MSNBC and NPR, among many other media outlets. Moore is also the host of Beyond Belief on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and the executive producer and host of PBS’s Coming Back with Wes Moore, which focuses on the re-integration of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their return home.
Moore doesn’t just profess his dedication to social justice — he creates real positive change to better lives. While still a student at Johns Hopkins University, he founded STAND!, an organization which works with Baltimore youth in the criminal justice system. More recently, Moore is the founder and CEO of BridgeEdU, an innovative college platform that addresses the college completion and job placement crisis. BridgeEdU reinvents the freshman year in a way that engages students in real-world internships and service-learning opportunities in addition to core academic classes. By getting to the root of higher education’s shortcomings and altering the college experience to better fit students, Moore changes lives and inspires audiences to do so, too. In November of 2015, he wrote his third book, the well-received This Way Home with Shawn Goodman. Nominated for the 9th Annual Teen Choice Book Awards, the young adult novel is a story about reclamation, taking a stand for what matters most, and the discovery that, in the end, hope, love, and courage are our most powerful weapons.
As a writer and speaker, Moore shares the illuminating lessons he learned on his journeys. In The Work, he writes about an Afghan translator who taught him to find spirit in the midst of war, the resilient students of post-Katrina-ravaged Mississippi who showed courage in the face of adversity, and his late grandfather, who taught that service can save. As a speaker, Moore customizes each presentation, whether he speaks on the transformative power of education, professional and personal leadership, corporate responsibility or how to rise above adversity’s many turbulent waters.
Filled with stories of everyday people, Moore’s very human perspective coupled with his transformative programs bring concrete benefits. Audiences leave with new outlooks, and sincere motivation to tackle today’s problems. As theologian Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who come alive.”