One Book author Wes Moore visits



Sarah Stiglianese

Wes Moore, bestselling author of “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates,” believes “the truest joys of your higher education experience are the things that will be not just lasting, but life changing, and those experiences won’t always happen inside your classrooms.” 

The highlight of this year’s St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service Celebration was the highly anticipated lecture by Moore, in collaboration with the 10th Anniversary of the One Book Villanova Program.  

Rev. Father Peter Donohue, O.S.A., kicked off the event with a welcome to the audience. He then turned the stage over to Terry Nance, Ph.D., the assistant vice pesident for Multicultural Affairs and a One Book Villanova committee chair.

  Nance spoke about the 10th Anniversary of the One Book Villanova Program and was proud to add that it was the first time the Program joined the St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration Lecture with the One Book Program.

“The point of the book is to have students take a journey to new places, explore humanity, empathize with the sufferings of others and engage in hard truths about ourselves,” she said. 

Moore’s good friend, Justin Brandon, who was featured in his book, marked the event with a special author introduction. 

“It’s not everyday your best friend writes a bestselling book that includes so much about your personal life story,” Brandon joked. “Thanks Wes.”

Finally, the entire Pavilion warmly welcomed Wes Moore, who began by saying “To be a part of this list of books that are assigned to students through the One Book Villanova Program means more to me than you all know.” To give a special shout out to the St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service Celebration Moore stated, “All we’re called to do in this life is to help others.” Moore feels the concept of service being at the heart of everything that is taught at Villanova and expected of the students is a model other schools should follow.

Moore hoped his lecture would help the audience realize what higher education is all about. He feels less emphasis should be on the transcript, because higher education is something greater. Moore stated our goal should be to leave college with a better sense of whom we will fight for even when it’s not easy. We must take our education and use it to help others. 

“I’m not saying school isn’t important,” Moore insisted. “But if all you can do at the end of these four years is walk across the graduation stage, you missed the point of what higher education is.” 

Wes Moore has been called many things–best-selling author, entrepreneur, Army veteran, TV host and youth advocate. But when asked what he wants to be remembered as he answered, “I want to be remembered as someone who lived each day as his last, who never forgot who he was fighting for, never forgot that the world is not about us and never forgot that we have to live with a sense of impatience because we are never promised anything in life.”

“The Other Wes Moore” is an inspiring story about how making good choices can lead you down the right path in life. He wants readers to know the book is about all children, the decisions they make and the people who help them make those decisions. 

It’s not about one name, one race, one neighborhood, one demographic or one generation. It’s about all the kids who are one decision away from greatness and don’t even know it. Not every child is given the same assets. Potential is universal, but opportunity is not. The name does not matter. There are “Wes Moores” all around us.

To college students who are facing big decisions that will affect their lives, Moore said, “The best decisions I have made have been the ones where I trusted my own judgment. The worst decisions were when I found myself falling victim to trying to live the life others wanted me to live.” Moore encourages students to process the information everyone is throwing at you, but at the end of the day, to trust your own instincts. Moore believes our ultimate goal is to strive to be great and to be passionate about things that are important to you.

“I’ve learned you can never be great at something you’re not passionate about,” he added. 

During his lecture, Moore mentioned his greatest influence is his mother, who sacrificed everything for her family In advising college students on how to find their own great mentors, Moore says that one must be extremely deliberate because finding a great mentor is not accidental. 

“People want to be helpful and supportive, and as long as you’re willing to show a level of respect, gratitude and admiration for them, it’s amazing what you’ll get back in return,” Moore said.

Moore also encourages students, if they’re lucky enough to get the opportunity, to study abroad or go on service trips and get out of their comfort zone to appreciate the world’s offerings. 

“The things we can learn from other places and our experiences there can make us more compelling, well-rounded and interesting people,” he said. “I think it is a remarkable experience for students to do and adds another layer to their collegiate experience.”

As a closing message specifically to Villanovans, Moore stated, “You’ve worked extremely hard and sacrificed so much to get here. Give it your all and see where it takes you. Villanova expects more than just how well you did in school, it’s about how many people it mattered to that you were a Wildcat.”