Man Convicted of Murder Becomes TSU Valedictorian

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At age 42 and after serving 20 years in prison, Houstonian Ren Moore graduated at the very top of his class as the 2016 valedictorian of Texas Southern University.

Moore told KHOU, “People used to say I was dumb growing up. I believed it.” He began selling drugs as a teen, and one day, he shot and killed a man during a drug deal that went wrong. He was put into jail at 18 years old, and wasn’t released until 2013.

Moore was able to earn college credit while in jail, and he also started rapping to channel his emotions into art. Once he began to see how productive he could be without violence, he refocused his life and became motivated to better himself.

He left prison with his Associates Degree, and from there, he ambitiously entered into a bachelor program at TSU. At first, he felt out of place and intimidated, but the university was very accommodating. “…There was always someone who I could talk to and show me what I didn’t know how to do. I didn’t receive any type of discrimination here, I received more encouragement and support here. It was overwhelming,” Moore told CW 39. He hopes his story can inspire others.