The speaker for the 2015 commencement was Wes Moore, acclaimed author of the New York Times bestsellers “The Other Wes Moore” and “The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters.”
Watch Wes Moore's Feb. 4 interview on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart below:
Born in 1978, Wes Moore and his sisters were raised by their widowed mother. Despite early academic and behavioral struggles, he graduated Phi Theta Kappa in 1998 as a commissioned officer from Valley Forge Military College, and Phi Beta Kappa from Johns Hopkins University in 2001, where he also played football and earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations. He then became a Rhodes Scholar, studying international relations at Oxford University.
After completing his studies, Wes Moore was given a military commission, serving a tour of combat duty in Afghanistan as an Army Airborne captain. Moore then became a White House Fellow serving as special assistant to Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice. He currently serves on the boards of the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America and Johns Hopkins University, and he founded an organization called Stand! that works with Baltimore youth involved in the criminal justice system.
He came to prominence with the publication in 2010 of his first book, “The Other Wes Moore,” a story of mentorship and support networks that 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 as combat Army officer. The other is currently serving a life sentence for killing a cop during an armed robbery. Burning with curiosity as to why he and the other Wes were so radically different, Moore investigated the life of the man with his same name. The result was an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller that captured the nation’s attention on what draws the line between success and failure in our communities.
New York Times columnist Nick Kristof was powerfully affected by “The Other Wes Moore,” which he wrote about in his June 12, 2010 column.
Moore’s most recent book, “The Work: My Search for a Life that Matters,” is the story of how one young man traced a path through the world to find his life’s purpose. Wes Moore graduated from a difficult childhood in the Bronx and Baltimore to an adult life that would find him at some of the most critical moments in our recent history: as a combat officer in Afghanistan; a White House fellow in a time of wars abroad and disasters at home; and a Wall Street banker during the financial crisis. In this insightful book, Moore shares the lessons he learned from people he met along the way — from the brave Afghan translator who taught him to find his fight, to the resilient young students in Katrina-ravaged Mississippi who showed him the true meaning of grit, to his late grandfather, who taught him to find grace in service.
Moore is 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 is the founder and CEO of BridgeEdU, an innovative college platform that addresses the challenges of college completion and job placement. 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. BridgeEdU mirrors many of the strategies and values inherent in the Wagner Plan for the Practical Liberal Arts, Wagner College’s signature curriculum, pioneered in the late 1990s by President Richard Guarasci.