April 30, 2001
Travis Roy knows first hand how to “take control of life and not let life control you.” Based on his own life challenges, taking control of life will be at the heart of the message he delivers to the 591 Plymouth State College graduates during commencement exercises on Saturday, May 19.
Having dreamed of playing Division I college hockey all his life, Travis Roy got his chance on October 20, 1995 at 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 legs or left arm.
“Travis Roy’s story is truly inspirational,” says PSC Senior Class President Carolyn Massey, and a member of the committee that selected Roy as this year’s commencement speaker. She says, “He stared adversity in the face and won. I think he will deliver a very motivational and inspirational speech, and having recently attained a college degree himself, he can relate to the class of 2001.”
Roy says he wants to remind the graduates to keep a balance, and remember what’s important in life – family and friends – and not to take things for granted. “I want to encourage them to be lifelong learners,” says Roy. “Even though they will be receiving their diplomas, their education is just beginning.”
Following his accident, Roy returned to Boston University and earned a degree in communications last year. He has written a book, Eleven Seconds, in which he describes his approach to life. Roy writes, “We must continue to chart a course for our lives. . . . 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.”
PSC undergraduate commencement begins at 10 a.m. on May 19. The ceremony is scheduled to take place at Currier Memorial Field.