TAMPA, Fla. (May 6, 2017) – University of South Florida graduate student Sam Bridgman rose from his wheelchair to walk across the stage and receive two master’s degrees from the USF Muma College of Business during a commencement ceremony on Saturday evening.
Bridgman, 25, lives with Friedreich’s ataxia, a rare neuro-muscular disease that is progressive, life-shortening and also causes loss of coordination from the toes to the fingertips. He was diagnosed at age 15 and he has been confined to a wheelchair since the age of 18.
Bridgman raises funds for the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance and has worked as a resident for the Tampa Bay Lightning during his pursuit of an MBA and master’s degree in sport and entertainment management.
His inspirational story has recently been featured by ABC Action News, Fox 13 News, Bay News 9 and WUSF.
A similar successful walk across the stage during his 2013 graduation ceremony at the University of Portland received national media attention.
More information on Bridgman’s story can be found here: http://www.usf.edu/business/news/articles/170502-bridgman-commencement.aspx.
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, established in 1956 and located in Tampa, is a high-impact, global research university dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three, separately accredited institutions: USF; USF St. Petersburg; and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Serving more than 49,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is ranked in the Top 30 nationally for research expenditures among public universities, according to the National Science Foundation. In 2016, the Florida Legislature designated USF as “Emerging Preeminent,” placing USF in an elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.