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Common Reading events planned September 18 and October 3

ISSUED: 7 September 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Shepherd University’s Common Reading and Lifelong Learning programs are sponsoring a lecture by appelate lawyer and Georgetown University Law Center professor Shon Hopwood on Monday, September 18, at 6 p.m. in the Robert C. Byrd Center for Congressional History and Education auditorium.

Hopwood will give a lecture titled “From Prison Inmate to Lawyer and Scholar” about his own transformation from bank robber and prisoner to practicing attorney and law professor. Hopwood spent 11 years in prison for aggravated bank robbery. While in prison, he began helping other inmates with legal issues. Hopwood will talk about finding his calling, overcoming adversity, and how he turned his life around.

Hopwood’s story of overcoming adversity is similiar to that of Liz Murray, who wrote this year’s common reading book, “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard.”

Like Hopwood, Murray pulled herself out of difficult circumstances to achieve great success. Murray’s parents were drug addicts, and she was a homeless high school dropout by age 15. Murray managed to earn a high school diploma, win a New York Times scholarship, and graduate from Harvard. Murray will speak at Shepherd on Tuesday, October 3, at 7 p.m. in the Frank Center Theater.

A reception sponsored by the Shepherd University Foundation will follow both events, which are free and open to the public. For more information about these and other Common Reading events, contact Shannon Holliday at 304-876-5461 or, or visit

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