By Edwin B. Smith
University of Mississippi Communications
Popular author and Rhodes scholar Caylin Moore is the keynote speaker for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College’s fall convocation, set for Thursday (Oct. 14) at the University of Mississippi.
The annual event, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts, is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required and a reception immediately follows the event.
“We chose Caylin as our convocation speaker because of his compelling story of grit, perseverance and academic excellence,” said Ethel Scurlock, interim dean of the Honors College. “As a young person he has had a stellar record of community action and academic achievement.
“I believe that as citizen scholars, our students in the Honors College will be motivated by the work ethic, lived experiences and resiliency of Caylin Moore.”
By taking advantage of the limited educational opportunities in his community, Moore excelled through high school and college. As a student-athlete at Texas Christian University, he became founder and president of S.P.A.R.K., a community outreach organization encouraging youth to pursue education as a means of community uplift.
He went on to become a US-UK Fulbright Summer Institute fellow at the University of Bristol and a Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute fellow at Princeton University. After graduating from TCU, the Rhodes scholarship allowed him to study public policy and earn a master’s degree in Latin American studies at the University of Oxford.
Moore received critical acclaim for his debut book, “A Dream Too Big: The Story of an Improbable Journey from Compton to Oxford” (Thomas Nelson, June 2019). The book, which details his against-all-odds journey from the poverty of a gang-ridden Los Angeles community to becoming a Rhodes scholar, has been featured by ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the Hallmark Channel and other many other media outlets.
Moore’s book also was named a Good Morning America Anchor’s Favorite Books of 2019 and was an Amazon bestseller in sociology of urban areas. It has drawn widespread praise from notable figures.
New York Times bestselling author Ron Hall called his book “an inspiring tale that should be mandatory reading for every student, parent, and anyone else interested in the success of those who will shape and define our future.” Emmy Award-winning anchor and pro football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan said, “What an inspiring story. How he was able to use his wits and his smarts to stay out of trouble and to excel in life … I thought that this book needed to be put out there in the forefront because you can never have a dream too big to accomplish.”
Pursuing a Ph.D. in sociology at Stanford University, Moore focuses his research on issues of gang violence, poverty and how they are affected by policies that have been implemented to harm African American and Latino communities.