In 2004, his father was shot and killed. In 2014, his brother met the same fate. In 2015, he flunked out of college.
And on May 11, 2019, Tyreek Wright graduated from Neumann University with a degree in Sport Management and a job awaiting him.
“Often, when you grow up where I did in Philadelphia, you have to make something of yourself or become a statistic,” said Tyreek. “Just because I hit a barrier, I was not going to give up.”
After his brother was killed at the end of his freshman year at Neumann, he stayed in school but didn’t even try to succeed. “I didn’t go to classes or hand in assignments during my sophomore year,” he admitted.
When Neumann dismissed him, he wasn’t surprised. “But I had to explain it to my mother. That’s when it became real.”
Instead of surrendering to fate, Tyreek accepted a low-level job at Amazon, took classes at Delaware Technical Community College, got his grades up, and reapplied to Neumann. In the last two years, he has completed 18-22 credits per semester and kept his full-time job at Amazon, working the overnight shift.
“After work, I catch about two hours of sleep each morning before I come to class and then take a nap after classes, before I go back to work.”
He credited two professors for his transformation. “Dr. (Leonard) DiPaul made me a better person, and Dr. (Julie) Lanzillo prepared me professionally,” he explained.
The two professors adopted a similar approach with Tyreek. They pushed him to be better. “Dr. DiPaul made me think. He always asked me why I believed something. Why, why, why? Dr. Lanzillo challenges you to go do it. She gives you the knowledge but wants you to do it on your own.”
Tyreek, who now has a two-month-old baby, begins his job as an account executive with the Philadelphia Union on May 26.