Liz Murray

  • Went from Homeless to Harvard
  • Best-Selling Author of Breaking Night: My Journey from Homeless to Harvard
  • Founder of The Arthur Project, an Innovative Youth Mentoring Program
  • Advocate for Underserved Youth and Poverty Awareness

The child of drug-addicted parents who routinely ate from dumpsters and sought refuge at all-night subway stations to survive, Liz Murray was homeless at age 15—and fending for her life. Determined not to be defined by her circumstances, she recognized education as the key to a fresh beginning and a whole new way of living. She earned her high school diploma in just two years and won a scholarship to Harvard University that would turn her bleak circumstances into a future filled with limitless possibility.

With sincerity, maturity and graciousness, Murray takes audiences along on her personal journey from street smarts to classroom triumphs, instantly becoming an inspiration to both student groups and business audiences alike in need of the motivation to overcome their own obstacles. The subject of Lifetime Television’s Emmy-nominated original film, Homeless to Harvard, Murray graduated from Harvard in 2009, and went on to receive her Masters in the Psychology of Education at Columbia University. Today, as co-founder and Executive Director of The Arthur Project, Murray is a passionate advocate for under served youth, working to end generational poverty through relationship-based learning.

 

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Rave Reviews About Liz Murray
Liz Murray’s ability to connect with the audience was amazing. Our guests had nothing in common with her early life; her story played out in a world they could never even imagine. Yet from the moment she took the stage, everyone was locked in. There was laughter, there were some tears, and such enrapt silence in between that you could have heard a pin drop. (That sounds trite but is exactly what one of our major donors said later.) I’ve never attended a fundraising event at which a speaker had this much impact. For me, the best way to describe Liz Murray on stage is that she shines. Her humanity, her love, her great desire to connect and inspire absolutely shines through in her face and her words. It is unforgettable.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Liz Murray
  • HomeFirst
  • Ringling College Library Association Town Hall
  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • Microsoft
  • Edmonton Police Foundation
  • Campbell Young Leaders
  • West Texas A&M University
  • Columbus Academy
  • Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation and DaVita
  • Kamehameda Secondary School
Keynote - Falling in love with possibility in your life | TEDxYouth@SanDiego [12:25] - Get Sharable Link
Explore Liz Murray's Talks
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Giving Back: Extending Corporate Values into Your Community

While the practice of Corporate Social Responsibility galvanized the business world years ago, companies and organizations continue to voluntarily increase the steps they take to improve the quality of life for their communities and society at large. Employees play a key role in community-based init ...

While the practice of Corporate Social Responsibility galvanized the business world years ago, companies and organizations continue to voluntarily increase the steps they take to improve the quality of life for their communities and society at large. Employees play a key role in community-based initiatives, but more importantly have an innate desire to be part of something bigger than themselves. Liz Murray’s inspirational story challenges the audience to recognize the opportunity we each have to make a lasting contribution on another person’s life. Employees will find themselves re-charged and ready to step-up as community leaders.

From Homeless to Harvard

A story so powerful it was made into a movie, Liz Murray shares her fascinating, inspirational story of growing up with two drug addicted parents who she began supporting at age 10. Homeless at age 15, the death of her mother was the wake-up call that made her break free of her circumstances and pur ...

A story so powerful it was made into a movie, Liz Murray shares her fascinating, inspirational story of growing up with two drug addicted parents who she began supporting at age 10. Homeless at age 15, the death of her mother was the wake-up call that made her break free of her circumstances and pursue a different path for her life. While living on the streets of New York, she completed and graduated from high school in just two years. Overcoming horrible odds, she won a full scholarship and was accepted to Harvard University. Murray offers one of the most moving, elegant and uplifting tales you will ever hear.

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Biography

The child of drug-addicted parents who routinely ate from dumpsters and sought refuge at all-night subway stations to survive, Liz Murray was homeless at age 15—and fending for her life. Determined not to be defined by her circumstances, she recognized education as the key to a fresh beginning and a whole new way of living. She earned her high school diploma in just two years and won a scholarship to Harvard University that would turn her bleak circumstances into a future filled with limitless possibility. With sincerity, maturity and graciousness, Murray takes audiences along on her personal journey from street smarts to classroom triumphs, instantly becoming an inspiration to both student groups and business audiences alike in need of the motivation to overcome their own obstacles. The subject of Lifetime Television’s Emmy-nominated original film, Homeless to Harvard, Murray graduated from Harvard in 2009, and went on to receive her Masters in the Psychology of Education at Columbia University. Today, as co-founder and Executive Director of The Arthur Project, Murray is a passionate advocate for under served youth, working to end generational poverty through relationship-based learning.