Homeless to Harvard:Liz Murray

Elizabeth “Liz” Murray (born September 23, 1980) is an American inspirational speaker who is best known as having been homeless in her youth, and as having overcome her hardship to achieve success.

Liz Murray was born in the Bronx, New York, to poor, drug-addicted, HIV-infected parents. She became homeless just after she turned 15, when her mother died of AIDS, and her father moved to a homeless shelter.

Murray’s life turned around when she began attending the Humanities Preparatory Academy in Chelsea, Manhattan.Though she started high school later than most students, and remained without a stable home while supporting herself and her sister, Murray graduated in only two years.

 She was awarded a New York Times scholarship for needy students and was accepted into Harvard University, matriculating in the fall semester of 2000.


She left Harvard in 2001 to care for her sick father; she resumed her education at Columbia University to be closer to him. According to her book Breaking Night, her older sister, Lisa, graduated from Purchase College in New York State and is a school teacher for autistic children. In late 2001, her father died of AIDS.

 She eventually returned to Harvard in 2006 and graduated in June 2009. As of August 2009, she had begun taking graduate courses at Harvard Summer School and would like to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology to counsel people from all walks of life.

She is the founder and director of Manifest Trainings, a company that provides a series of workshops that empower adults to create the extraordinary in their lives.


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