Elizabeth Murray in 2013
September 23, 1980
Bronx, New York City, NY
|Other names||Liz Murray|
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Children||Liam, Maya Jean|
|Parent(s)||Jean Murray (mother), Peter Finnerty (father)|
Murray was born in the Bronx, New York on September 23, 1980 to poor and drug-addicted parents, both of whom would later contract HIV. She became homeless just after she turned 15, when her mother died of AIDS in 1996, and her father moved to a homeless shelter. Despite her late high school start and lack of a stable home, Murray began attending the Humanities Preparatory Academy in Chelsea, Manhattan, graduating in 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. Her older sister Lisa graduated from Purchase College in New York State and is a school teacher for children with autism.
In late 2006, her father died of AIDS. She returned to Harvard in 2006 and graduated in June 2009. As of August 2009, she began taking graduate courses at Harvard Summer School with plans to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology and become a counselor.
She is the founder and director of Manifest Living and a motivational speaker. A made-for-TV film about Murray's life Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story, was released in 2003. Liz Murray's New York Times (US) and Sunday Times (UK) bestselling memoir "Breaking Night" was released in September 2010.
On May 19, 2013, she was awarded an honorary doctorate of public service and gave the commencement address at Merrimack College in North Andover, Massachusetts.
- Lucy Ash, 'From Homeless to Harvard', BBC World Service, February 8, 2011.
- Meg Hagerty, 'Homeless to Harvard' subject to speak at local benefit, PostStar.com (Glens Falls, NY), August 3, 2009.
- Ron Sanders, Homeless To Harvard Story Inspires Worcester Tech, WBZ (Boston, MA CBS Affiliate), March 19, 2009.
- Kathleen McFadden, Liz Murray Encourages High Country Women To Pay It Forward, High Country Press (Boone, NC), June 12, 2008.
- Leah Beth Ward, Advocates Hear Story of a Life Turned Around, Yakima Herald-Republic, May 8, 2008.
- Nancy Arcayna, Her story tells of triumph over greatest odds, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 28, 2006.
- Liz Murray On Movie About Her Life, Plans For Future, interview with Gabe Pressman, WNBC, April 13, 2003.[dead link]
- Emily Eakin, TELEVISION REVIEW; A Girl on the Street Finds a Path to the Ivy League, The New York Times, April 7, 2003.
- Al Siebert, From Homeless to Harvard - Liz Murray's Story, THRIVEnet Story of the Month, June 2000.
- Breaking Night: A Memoir, Hyperion Books, 2010 (ISBN 0-7868-6891-0).
- "Liz's Story", New York Times Upfront, January 31, 2000.
- Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey From Homeless to Harvard
- L. B. Ward, 2000.
- Meg Hagertymhagerty@poststar.com (2009-08-03). "'Homeless to Harvard' subject to speak at local benefit". Poststar.com. Retrieved 2010-10-18.
- Perseverance, a short film produced by Anson Schloat and John G. Young, 2006.
- Ubben Lecture at DePauw University; April 6, 2005