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The Journal Gazette

  • Acclaimed author and CEO Wes Moore claps for IPFW Chancellor Ronald Elsenbaumer during a donor's reception before Wednesday's lecture. (Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette)

Thursday, February 08, 2018 1:00 am

Different measure of success

Rise above, fight for others, author urges in Omnibus lecture

DAVE GONG | The Journal Gazette

Success isn't all about the individual.

That's one of several takeaways from Wes Moore's Wednesday lecture at IPFW's Rhinehart Music Center.

An Army veteran, CEO and New York Times best-selling author, Moore provided insight into the challenges he faced throughout his life while stressing that one should never be ashamed of one's circumstances. It's actions that matter.

Hundreds packed Auer Performance Hall on Wednesday for Moore's lecture as part of IPFW's Omnibus Lecture Series.

Moore is the subject of a film, “The Other Wes Moore,” being developed by executive producer Oprah Winfrey.

Based on his New York Times best-seller, it tells the story of how education, parental influence, mentors and community support helped him transcend the unfortunate fate of a man with the same name who lived just blocks away.

Moore used a conversation he had about the stock market's recent success to underscore his point that success is most important when everyone benefits. The same day the markets reached record highs, Moore said, a video of a West Baltimore teacher in a school with no heat was going viral.

“The same day the stock market hit 25,000, we had kids clumped together inside of a classroom and a teacher trying to teach them,” Moore said. “We cannot talk about what it means to have success if for far too many people, that becomes a punchline.”

Moore said there's no better place to have that discussion than a college campus. He urged the students assembled to find something to believe in and fight for.

“The most important question you're going to be asked is not, 'What is your major?' The most important question you will be asked is, 'Who did you choose to fight for?'” Moore said. “Who did you choose to advocate for when it wasn't easy, who did you choose to stand with when it wasn't simple, who did you choose to fight for when it wasn't politically expedient?”

The others, those people who are struggling, exist in every community, every neighborhood, Moore said. They're people who “feel like conversations are being had and not only are they not part of the conversations, they don't even think that they're being considered.”

“If it does not include how we are going to stand for and advocate for the others, I think we need to broaden our definition of success,” Moore said.

dgong@jg.net