Two Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend this year’s UB Reads Distinguish Speaker. The Distinguish Speaker Series invites writers, politicians, comedians, celebrities, and more to our school to talk about their journey while giving advice to all of those who attend. About six to eight speakers are invited each year and admission is free for all undergraduate UB Students. The UB Reads speaker is chosen carefully as his or her book is distributed to all the incoming freshman during their orientations over the summer, and in the fall to the rest of the UB Students. This year’s book was The Other Wes Moore, by Wes Moore. The books tells of the story of two men named Wes Moore who grow up with similar background, but the decisions that they made influenced their lives to one becoming a New York Times Best Seller and the other a hardened criminal.
Since I have been a Peer Mentor for UBE 101 this past semester, my instructor and I told our class that if everyone attended Wes Moore’s speech that we could cancel class during the week of Thanksgiving. My students at first did not understand why we were requiring them to attend, but all of them did end up showing up. I don’t think they realized how many people actually attend the distinguish speakers series as we walked into Alumni Arena. Before Wes Moore came out to speak, Matt Weigand, director of the Orientation, Transition, and Parent Programs Office, and my friend Jake Caldwell spoke to introduce the speaker that night. When I saw my friend on stage, I was so proud!!! Introducing the Distinguish Speaker is a huge leadership role and he did amazing!
Wes Moore was truly an inspiration! He was able to mix telling his story with humor, motivation, and seriousness. One off the most memorable parts of the speech was how he stressed that you are more than your major. It is not what major you have, but what you do with it. The best part is the fact that all of my students stayed until the end of the speech and Q&A. Afterwards, my students were even posting our our facebook group how glad they were that my instructor and I had forced them to go. I am glad that they learned so much and enjoyed such a great opportunity.
The Distinguish Speaker series, is one of the many great activities offered here at UB. I have been fortunate enough to attend at least one Distinguish Speaker each year.