Two boys with the same name were born within blocks of each other and less than a year apart. Both grew up fatherless in the same poverty-stricken Baltimore ghetto. Both experienced the same hazards of urban youth: racism, violence and trouble with the law. How did one become a Rhodes Scholar and investment banker and the other a convicted murderer serving a life sentence for killing an off-duty police officer?
SMU’s entering class of 2017 will examine the experiences of these two men whose lives turned out very differently, despite their similar backgrounds, in the 2013 Common Reading selection, The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates.
The New York Times bestseller explores the contrast between the book’s author – who graduated from Johns Hopkins University and worked alongside Condoleezza Rice in the White House – and “the other” Wes Moore, whose path led to drug dealing, armed robbery and prison.
The difference between their destinies is troubling, and Moore the author aims to arrive at some conclusions about the factors and influences that led his counterpart down paths so divergent from his own.
The book “both disturbs and inspires readers with questions about the influence of family and education in the choices a young person makes,” wrote Associate Provost Harold Stanley in an e-mail to faculty and staff members dated Thursday, May 2, 2013.
The Common Reading Selection Committee is now seeking leaders for the pre-Convocation reading discussion that has become a first-week-on-campus tradition. Discussion leaders will receive a free copy of the book. Active and emeritus professors from all SMU schools are invited to take part.
To volunteer as a discussion leader, or for more information on this year’s selection, contact Diana Grumbles, 214-768-3832.