Campus News

Liz Murray Shares Her Triumph Over Adversity at this Week's Common Hour

Story posted February 18, 2004

Liz Murray, who triumphed over a bitterly grim life of homelessness to go on to graduate from Harvard, will be this week's Common Hour speaker at 12:30 p.m., Friday, February 20, in Morrell Lounge, David Saul Smith Union.

Common Hour is open to all Bowdoin students, faculty, and staff.

Liz Murray's book Breaking Night tells the story of her journey from teenage homelessness to her graduation from Harvard. Now a student at Columbia University, she brings her inspiring story of overcoming great odds to groups across the nation.

The child of cocaine-addicted parents in the Bronx, Murray's childhood environment was devoid of all the comforts of home. Food was non-existent, living conditions were filthy, and drugs were everywhere. By the time she was 15, Murray had lost her mother and was living on the street, riding the subway all night, and eating from Dumpsters.

Amidst this pain, she always imagined her life could be better.

"I started to grasp the value of the lessons learned while living on the streets," she said. "I knew after overcoming those obstacles, that next to nothing could hold me down."

Determined to take charge of her life, Murray finished high school in just two years, while camping out in New York City parks and subway stations.

Murray takes audiences on a very personal journey of triumph over adversity. In addition to her poignant memoir, Murray's life story was documented in the Lifetime movie, Homeless to Harvard starring Thora Birch.

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