PHILADELPHIA — Western Governors University (WGU) today unveiled a mural of Shayne Moore by Philadelphia artist Eric Okdeh at 4534 Wayne Avenue in Philadelphia (corner of Wayne Avenue and Berkley street, across from the Wayne Junction SEPTA station) as part of its “Role Model Murals”—a series of murals by local artists across the U.S. that highlights exemplary students. The event adhered to all social distancing mandates by the City of Philadelphia and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Moore, who is vice president of information technology at the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), grew up in the Nicetown neighborhood of Philadelphia and knew few people who went to college. His mother pushed him and his brother to get a degree, and he earned a bachelor’s degree in information technology from WGU. He has been ordained and has served as an assistant pastor for Trumpet of Zion Tabernacle for 16 years, and for 12 years has volunteered at Philadelphia prisons. He is co-director for H.O.P.E. Ministries, a group that volunteers in the Philadelphia Prison System, and is vice president for Aim For The Net, a program that mentors children while also providing sports as an alternative to the streets.
“By persisting through challenges and helping so many others to do the same, Shayne exemplifies WGU’s values to advance equity and achieve things together,” said Regional Vice President Rebecca L. Watts, Ph.D. “We’re thrilled to share this special moment with Shayne, his family, his friends, and the entire community. We hope the mural will inspire others to reach their full potential.”
Shayne Moore said, “Though I have accomplished these things, I did not do any of it alone. There are countless others who helped to contribute, or whose story is like mine, so I take this time to applaud them as they too work to make a difference.” He continued, “As I look at this mural, I do not see an individual, I see a community. When I look at this mural, I do not see me, I see us.”
Philadelphia is known as the “City of Murals,” with close to 4,000 murals, sculptures and ceramic and stained-glass works of art. The colorful mural of Shayne Moore spans about 35 x 30 feet and is painted on a formerly vacant wall. The portrait of Moore is combined with a motif of WGU’s trademark owl, Sage, which represents wisdom, community, and freedom. The owl also embodies the sense of motivation many WGU students have to work at night to complete a degree, thus the WGU motto “Ambition Never Rests.” The grouping of persons surrounding the portrait of Shayne symbolizes both the community that supports him, as well as those Shayne has in-turn supported.
Said Watts, “Shayne grew up just around the corner on 19th street. From the end of his block you can see the bright mural colors. Recognizing the magnitude of his positive effect on the lives of so many in the community, and his powerful influence as a role model, this mural serves as a testament that education and community activism bring people together, lifting them up as one.”
A memorial plaque on the mural wall reads: “A native of Nicetown, Shayne grew up surrounded by people who rarely talked about college as a realistic goal or even a possibility. Fortunately for him, his mom and dad always did. They kept Shayne and his older brother out of trouble by stressing the importance of faith, and higher education. It was a lesson that Shayne never forgot, which is why, even while working a full-time job, serving as an assistant pastor at a local church, and volunteering at several local prisons on a weekly basis, Shayne still found the will and the time to earn a bachelor’s degree from WGU in an effort to better his life. Not only has it unlocked his potential in an IT career he loves, but it’s given him additional resources to continue to give back to his community by being the same kind of positive role model to others that he was blessed enough to have himself. Today, Shayne remains a source of positive influence through his volunteer work throughout Philadelphia—not just by employing his giving spirit, but also by being a shining example of what’s possible when you work hard, believe in yourself, and follow your destiny. This mural was commissioned by WGU to honor Shayne and inspire the ambitions of others facing similar circumstances.”
With its national “Role Model Murals” project, WGU hopes to encourage others to follow their ambitions and help make a difference in the world. The Philadelphia mural is the second in a series commissioned by WGU. A video documented the unveiling of a similar mural in San Antonio, Texas. For more information about WGU visit https://www.wgu.edu/.