Published on February 20, 2014 by Della Fancher  

Youth advocate and best-selling author Wes Moore will be the 2014 speaker in the Thomas and Marla Corts Distinguished Author Series at Samford University Monday, March 17, at 7 p.m., in Wright Center.

Moore is an Army veteran, social entrepreneur and host of Beyond Belief on the Oprah Winfrey Network. His first book, The Other Wes Moore (2010), which contrasts Moore's life with that of a man who shared his name but made bad choices, became a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller.

The story chronicles how two kids with the same name in the same city made different choices that resulted in one being a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow and business leader, and the other serving a life sentence in prison for felony murder. A young adult version of the book, Discovering Wes Moore, was published in 2012.

Moore's talk at Samford will focus on the importance of education and how small choices can make big differences in life.

Raised by his widowed mother, Moore overcame early struggles in life to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from John Hopkins University in 2001 and earn a master's degree from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 2004.  He was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, serving a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan. He later served as a White House Fellow and special assistant to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He founded STAND!, an organization that works with Baltimore, Md., youth involved in the criminal justice system.

Tickets are $15 general admission and $5 for non-Samford students, who receive free admission. A VIP reception at 6 p.m., including lecture admission, is $50.

Order tickets online, or call (205) 726-2853. Books will be available at the event, and Moore will sign autographs after the lecture.

The distinguished author series, established in 2011, honors the late Thomas Corts, who served as Samford president for 23 years, and his wife, Marla, a former high school English teacher.  Proceeds from the lecture will benefit Samford's Orlean Bullard Beeson School of Education.

To focus on Moore's theme, students in a Samford class on teaching in different educational settings were required to read his book. As a follow up on Tuesday, March 18, education students will attend a luncheon/dialogue to discuss family and cultural influences on education, to share their own stories of failure and success, and explore how personal and cultural biases affect teaching and learning.  Education students from Miles College will participate as part of a continuing partnership between the two schools.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.