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Business Officer Magazine

Why Higher Ed Really Does Matter

In a highly motivational keynote, social entrepreneur, youth advocate, and author Wes Moore, spoke about the importance of higher education and the critical role that institutions play in students’ lives and in society.

By Preeti Vasishtha

If a student attends a higher education institution and at the end, walks out with a paper degree, thinking that the mission is accomplished, then he or she has completely missed the point, said Wes Moore, in his keynote address Tuesday. "Higher education's role is much bigger. It's not just about what students learn, but also about whom they learn from and with. Higher education helps create connections and networks for students to build social capital."


For an extensive interview with Wes Moore, see "Bridging the Learning Divide," in the June 2015 Business Officer.

Taking a leaf out of his own life, Moore said that higher education "is the greatest way of establishing a sense of freedom for those who may not have it." By being surrounded and encouraged by his mother, grandparents, mentors, administrators, teachers, and professors, he was able to understand that he had the freedom to have dreams and aspirations and pursue them. "That's what higher education provides to kids who would not have such freedom otherwise."

"The greatest definition of who you are will be the testimony that someone else can give about the importance of you being there."

Talking about the "power of expectations," Moore said that "we're the products of our expectations and not the products of our environments." So if mentors set expectations for students to perform better, then chances are that they will. But if the expectations are set lower, then students will only perform to that level. "The role of institutions," said Moore, "is to create leaders who will change the directions of the communities they go to after completing their higher education."

PREETI VASISHTHA is deputy editor of Business Officer.

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