Maroon Edition book tells story of one name, two very different lives

Wes Moore

The compelling story of how two young men with the same name — growing up at the same time in the same neighborhood — could end up in two very different places is Mississippi State’s 2017 Maroon Edition common reading program book selection.

First published in 2010 by Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House, “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates” received critical praise for its gripping account of the challenges of adolescence and the decisions — some good, some bad — two young men make and their life-changing consequences.

“Wes Moore shares a powerful and important story, but one that doesn’t offer any easy solutions to the many challenges of poverty,” said President Mark E. Keenum, who announced the selection in a campus-wide email message last Monday [March 20].

But, “I believe you will find it offers hope — hope that strong families and communities can make a crucial difference,” Keenum wrote.

The author Wes Moore grew up in a tough neighborhood in Baltimore where it would have been easy to slip into a life of crime and drugs. But thanks to a network of mentors and supporters, as well as a bit of good fortune, he was able to excel.

Moore is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at Mississippi State’s Fall Convocation in August. In addition to his address at Convocation, the formal beginning of the new academic year, he will spend time with students and faculty during his visit.

“Wes Moore’s achievements are remarkable, and we are very excited about having him on campus and sharing the lessons he’s learned with our students,” said Jim Dunne, interim director of MSU’s Center for Teaching and Learning, which oversees the selection of the Maroon Edition book each year.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Johns Hopkins University, Moore became a Rhodes Scholar, earning a Master of Letters degree in International Relations from Oxford University.

Moore also is a former U.S. Army captain and paratrooper who served in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division. He is the founder and CEO of a successful company — BridgeEdU — that provides innovative support solutions for college freshmen.

Now in its ninth year, Maroon Edition activities are held throughout the year for students at all class levels, as well as interested administrators, faculty and staff members.

Incoming MSU freshmen who participate in spring and summer orientation sessions receive a copy and are encouraged to read the selected book before they begin classes in the fall. The book also is available at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Mississippi State and other local and online book retailers.

For additional information about Maroon Edition, contact Dunne at (662) 325-2083 or

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

Jim Laird | Public Affairs

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