She went from homeless to Harvard

Liz Murray

WESTVILLE – If you're a sucker for undersog stories, you'll want to be at Purdue University Northwest in Westville on Sunday.

Liz Murray’s life has been a triumph over adversity and a stunning example of the importance of dreaming big, according to Lesie Plesac, executive director of PNW's Sinai Forum, which will host Murray, "a passionate advocate for underserved youth" on Sunday afternoon.

Murray was raised in the Bronx by two loving, but drug-addicted parents, according to Plesac. "She grew up in poverty, often without enough food, was chronically absent from school and most of all, struggled to connect her education to a viable future."

But with the support of a neighbor and trusted family friend, Murray finished high school in just two years, and was awarded a full scholarship to Harvard University – all while camping out in New York City parks and subway stations.

Today, as co-founder and executive director of The Arthur Project, a mentoring program that works intensively with at-risk youth through the duration of middle school, Murray is working to end generational poverty through relationship-based learning, Plesac said.

"She believes that when it comes to a child facing even the most extreme adversity, it is having a relationship with at least one caring, dedicated adult that can make all the difference."

Hosting prominent speakers has been the cornerstone of PNW Sinai Forum’s renowned history, according to Plesac. The Forum provides audiences a unique opportunity to hear noted speakers in a town-hall style format.

Murray will speak 4 p.m. in the Dworkin Student Services and Activities Complex at 1401 S. U.S. 421 on the Westville Campus. Doors open at 3 p.m.

Regular season series tickets are $150 each, which includes seats for all five speaker programs. Patron season series tickets are $275 each, and include a reception with the speaker before each event. High school and college students with valid students IDs are admitted free.

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