St. Thomas of Villanova Lecture

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Each year the St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration begins with an academic symposium or lecture examining an important issue in today's society. In keeping with the purpose of celebrating the legacy of St. Thomas of Villanova, Catholic Social Teaching is a featured perspective.



Time: 7 p.m., reception to follow

Location: Villanova Room, Connelly Center


Wes Moore

A best-selling author, Army combat veteran, social entrepreneur, and Executive Producer and host of the PBS series Coming Back with Wes Moore on returning veterans, Wes Moore is an American success story and a born leader—but he wasn't always on the path to achievement. Raised in a single-parent household in Baltimore with his sisters, Moore was drawn toward trouble as a child, enough so that his mother eventually enrolled him in a Pennsylvania military school. This single, determined choice effectively changed the course of her son's life.

It is no surprise, then, that Moore addresses this very issue of choice in his compelling keynote talks as well as in his New York Times bestseller, The Other Wes Moore. In his book, he tells the fascinating story of another Wes Moore—a man who shared his name and much of his personal history. About the same age and raised in the same neighborhood by a single mother, this "other Wes Moore" arrived at a starkly different fate: he now serves a life sentence without parole on murder charges. Compelled by their similar upbringings, Moore penned his book in an effort to discover how small choices make big differences in life. A young adult version of the book, titled Discovering Wes Moore, was published in 2012, and movie rights to The Other Wes Moore have been optioned by Oprah Winfrey and HBO Films.

Now bringing his message to the podium, Moore presents the compelling argument that it is support systems—dedicated networks of families, mentors, teachers, friends, colleagues—that have the most profound and lasting impact on one's life. Drawing on his experiences as a leader in the military, in business, and as a White House fellow—as well as his work in helping large corporations become more involved in their communities—Moore stresses the vitality of leadership in every community, from the smallest school up to the largest Fortune 500 corporation.

Despite early academic and behavioral struggles, Moore 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. There he also founded an organization called STAND! that works with Baltimore youth involved in the criminal justice system. Moore then became a Rhodes Scholar in 2004, studying International Relations at Oxford University.

Moore was a paratrooper and Captain in the United States Army, serving a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan with the elite 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division in 2005-2006. He spearheaded the American strategic support plan for the Afghan Reconciliation Program that unites former insurgents with the new Afghan Government. He is recognized as an authority on the rise and ramifications of radical Islamism in the Western hemisphere.

A White House Fellow from 2006-2007, Moore served as a Special Assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Following his time at the White House, he became an investment professional in New York at Citigroup, focusing on global technology, where he left as a Vice President. In 2009 he was selected as an Asia Society Fellow and was named one of Crain’s New York Business’ 40 Under 40 Rising Stars. Two years prior, he was selected as one of Ebony’s Top 30 Leaders Under 30.

Moore is passionate about supporting US veterans and examining the roles education, mentoring, and public service play in the lives of American youth. He serves on the board of the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and founded an organization called STAND! through Johns Hopkins that works with Baltimore youth involved in the criminal justice system. A featured speaker at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Moore has also spoken at the Southern Regional Conference of the National Society of Educators; the education reform session of the third annual Race & Reconciliation in America conference; NBC’s Education Nation; and the first 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. He has been featured through such media outlets as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Charlie Rose, Meet the Press, The View, and The New York Times, amongst others.

The 2014 St. Thomas of Villanova Celebration was generously sponsored by:

Lead Sponsor





Wells Fargo