Facing life’s challenges and winning will be at the heart of the message this year’s commencement speaker, Travis Roy, will deliver at graduation on May 19.
Having dreamed of playing Division I college hockey all his life, Roy got his chance on October 20, 1995 playing for Boston University. His college hockey career lasted 11 seconds. His dream was cut short when a crash into the boards shattered his fourth cervical vertebra, severely damaging his spinal cord. Roy is now a quadriplegic with no feeling below his shoulders, and no movement in his legs or left arm.
But his disability hasn’t stopped him. Roy returned to Boston University and earned a degree in communications. He is a strong and articulate spokesperson for victims of paralysis, having traveled across the country speaking to various groups, schools and businesses, and appearing on television and radio talk shows. His approach to life is best explained in his own words, in an excerpt from his book Eleven Seconds:
“We must continue to chart a course for our lives. Set goals and live every day to the fullest as we strive to achieve them. If life takes an unexpected turn, hang on to the goals that are still realistic, and reassess those that are not. . . . That course may lead us in directions that we never anticipated or even dreamed of. But that new course may lead us to contributions and accomplishments that are of more value to society than those we had originally planned for ourselves.”