Liz Murray: from the slums to Harvard

Elizabeth Murray was born September 23, 1980, in the Bronx, in a family of HIV-positive parents in the New York area, where only the poor and drug addicts lived.

She became homeless when she was only 15 after her mother left and after her father was taken to a shelter for the poor. Whatever the girl had to endure during that time, Murray’s life changed dramatically one day, namely after she started attending a humanitarian course at the Preparatory Academy in Chelsea, Manhattan.

And although she went to high school later than her peers (without permanent housing and taking care of herself and her sister), Murray graduated in just two years. She was then awarded New York Times scholarships for needy students and admitted to Harvard University in the fall of 2000.

Liz had to interrupt her studies to care for her sick father. She continued her studies at Columbia University, where she was closer to him and remained with him until he died of AIDS. In May 2008, she returned to Harvard and received a degree in psychology. Her biography, full of tragedy and faith, subsequently became the basis for a film released in 2003.

Today, Liz works as a professional speaker representing the Washington Speakers bureau. During each lecture for students and business audience groups, she tries to instill her spirit and will in the audience, which pulled her out of the slums as a teenager and put her on the right path.

About the Author: Thomas Mitchell

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