Great Expectations

Freshmen students listen intently as author and youth advocate Wes Moore discussed his book, "The Other Wes Moore," as part of Welcome Weekend on Saturday, Aug. 24.
Aug. 24, 2013 -- New York Times best-selling author and youth advocate Wes Moore discussed his book, "The Other Wes Moore," as part of Welcome Weekend for incoming freshmen on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the TD Bank Sports Center on the York Hill Campus.

The book, which was a QU 101 summer reading requirement for freshmen, follows the paths of two men with the same name and similar backgrounds. The author grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated Army veteran, White House fellow and business leader. The other Wes Moore is serving a life sentence in prison for felony murder.

"There are a whole list of things that people could talk about regarding the different reasons that we went different ways," the author said. "You cannot talk about his story without talking about the importance of education. As you move up in higher education, your networks are going to change, your friendships are going to change and your connections are going to change. Your time here matters, not simply because of what you're learning, but because of who you are learning it from and who you're learning it with. Take that seriously.

"It will never simply be about a (graduation) gown or robe," he continued. "It will never simply be about a degree. It's about, 'How do we make that degree mean something to other people besides ourselves? How do we make it matter?'"

The guest speaker also told the freshmen that expectations matter.

"We're not products of our environment, we're products of our expectations," Moore said. "Someone once said to me, 'It's a real shame that you lived up to your expectations and (the other) Wes didn't, and I said, 'Actually, the real shame is that we both did.'"

The 1,835 freshmen - the largest class in Quinnipiac history - were selected from 20,000 applications and represent 27 states and 30 countries, according to Carla Knowlton, director of admissions. The students gave Moore standing ovations before and after his speech. The feeling was mutual.

"As you go into this process of higher education people will be incredibly proud of your hard work. Work harder," he said. "People will be incredibly proud of your service. Serve longer. People will be incredibly proud of what you've accomplished. Accomplish more. That's why you're a Bobcat, because if they were expecting anything less you wouldn't be here."

Moore concluded by saying that there was enough "intellectual curiosity and energy" in the arena to solve any problem. "You all can say, 'We will fix it. That will be our legacy,'" he said. "The biggest question becomes: Will we?"

Following Moore's presentation, students, faculty and staff gathered at the Recreation Center on the Mount Carmel Campus for lunch and small group conversations designed to engage new students in a shared academic experience and foster community dialogue. 

Moore's speech was one of several highpoints of Welcome Weekend, which included school gatherings and barbecues and a Freshman Welcome ceremony addressed by President John L. Lahey as well as Knowlton and Matthew Desilets '14, president of the Student Government Association.

The weekend also included a University Symposium for faculty and staff led by Mark Thompson, executive vice president and provost.

View more photos from the event on our Facebook page.