Tara Peris-Caputo || || 801-626-7334

Blake Leeper
Olympic/Paralympic Games Medalist & American Bladerunner

  • Thursday, January 28, 2016
  • Wildcat Theater
  • Noon
  • Free and open to Public

asl interpreted

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Ever since Blake Leeper was a child, he has been determined to be a star athlete. Although Leeper was born a bilateral below-the-knee amputee, he was raised to believe the only disability in life is a bad attitude. Using prosthetics from an early age, he has overcome extreme obstacles. Through all the ups and downs, he has stayed true to himself and kept his eye on one ambition: to become the first American Paralympian to run in the able-bodied Olympic Games. With his sights set on Rio, Brazil in 2016, Leeper, known as “The American Bladerunner,” has a history of making people take notice. He continues to turn heads with his amazing performance on the track and in front of audiences when sharing his personal journeyof overcoming the odds.

Leeper donned prosthetic legs not only to walk, but to also participate in organized sports. He played varsity basketball in high school and then began honing his skills on the track once receiving a pair of customized running prosthetics. Since then, Leeper has been unstoppable. He has competed at several events, including Endeavor Games and the U.S. Paralympics Track & Field National Championships. In addition, he won both silver (400 meter) and bronze (200 meter) medals in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. After garnering such notable wins, he received a flood of endorsements, including ones from Nike, Fathead and Wheaties, as well as appearing on Good Morning America and Arsenio.

Being a member of Team USA is an honor to Leeper. He said, “It gives me a sense of importance, and a chance to compete and to be a competitor.” Leeper has always followed a bold path, which has allowed him to develop a “no exceptions” mindset. Putting himself to the test every day, he has become a strong, independent man with the confidence to follow his dreams. Now, Blake Leeper is intimately telling his story to audiences from all walks of life. His inspiring and powerful message will motivate others to never give up, discover their own ability to “find a way,” and reach their fullest potential.


  • The American Bladerunner: My Personal Story
  • Finding Abilities in Your Disabilities
  • Running Towards Your Dreams

Wes Moore
New York Times Best-Selling Author & Youth Advocate


  • February 22, 2016
  • Wildcat Theater
  • Noon
  • Free and open to Public


Acclaimed author Wes Moore is a veteran, Rhodes Scholar and the founder of BridgeEDU. His most recent book, The Work, is a collection of, “...incredibly valuable lessons about what it means to create lives that matter...[it is] a way of exploring the meaning of success in a volatile, difficult, and seemingly anchorless world.” The book, which debuted at No. 15 on the New York Times Best Seller List, was received as a model for how we can weave valuable lessons together from supremely different people in order to forge individual paths to triumph. In reading this book, we can all begin to find our work at the “intersection between personal abilities and our power to use them to fix our broken world.”

Moore’s first book, The Other Wes Moore, is a story of mentorship and support networks who refused to let him fall into crime and drugs. It tells the tale of two kids with the same name living in the same decaying city. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar and White House Fellow after serving in the prestigious 82nd Airborne Division of the US Army. The other is currently serving a life sentence for the killing of a police officer during an armed robbery. Burning with curiosity as to why he and the other Wes were so radically different, Moore investigated the man with the same name. The result was an instant New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller which captured the nation’s attention on what draws the line between success and failure in our communities.

An incredibly successful and sought-after speaker, Moore entrances audiences with his infectious zest for life. He has the rare ability to enthrall, inspire and engage, and captivate. He has been featured by USA Today, Time Magazine, People Magazine, Meet the Press, The Colbert Report, MSNBC and NPR, among many other media outlets. Moore is also the host of Beyond Belief on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and the executive producer and host of PBS’s Coming Back with Wes Moore, which focuses on the re-integration of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their return home.

Moore doesn’t just profess his dedication to social justice — he creates real positive change to better lives. While still a student at Johns Hopkins University, he founded STAND!, an organization which works with Baltimore youth in the criminal justice system. More recently, Moore is the founder and CEO of BridgeEdU, an innovative college platform that addresses the college completion and job placement crisis. BridgeEdU reinvents the freshman year in a way that engages students in real-world internships and service-learning opportunities in addition to core academic classes. By getting to the root of higher education’s shortcomings and altering the college experience to better fit students, Moore changes lives and inspires audiences to do so, too.

As a writer and speaker, Moore shares the illuminating lessons he learned on his journeys. In The Work, he writes about an Afghan translator who taught him to find spirit in the midst of war, the resilient students of post-Katrina-ravaged Mississippi who showed courage in the face of adversity, and his late grandfather, who taught that service can save. As a speaker, Moore customizes each presentation, whether he speaks on the transformative power of education, professional and personal leadership, corporate responsibility or how to rise above adversity’s many turbulent waters.

Filled with stories of everyday people, Moore’s very human perspective coupled with his transformative programs bring concrete benefits. Audiences leave with new outlooks, and sincere motivation to tackle today’s problems. As theologian Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who come alive.”


  • Founder and CEO of BridgeEdU
  • Author of The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters; The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates; Discovering Wes Moore; and Forcefully Advancing
  • Executive producer and host of Coming Back with Wes Moore on PBS
  • Host of Beyond Belief on the Oprah Winfrey Network and American Graduate Day on PBS
  • White House Fellow to Secretary of State Condelezza Rice
  • National correspondent and political/economic analyst: NBC News
  • Contributing writer: Huffington Post
  • Board member: Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and The Johns Hopkins University
  • Founded STAND!, an organization that works with Balitmore youth in the criminal justice system
  • Former captain and paratrooper: combat tour of duty in Afghanistan, 82nd Airborne Division, U.S. Army
  • Completed an MLitt in International Relations from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar
  • Phi Theta Kappa from Valley Forge Military College


  • The Work: The Quest For Our Work That Matters
  • The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates
  • Transformational Leadership: Evolve, Adapt, Inspire
  • The Transformative Power of Education
  • Responsible Corporate Citizenship & the Real-Life Ramifications