Handwritten note helped inspire paralyzed graduate

Monday, December 17, 2012

A handwritten note from Chancellor Phil Dubois was a source of inspiration for Hannah Martin, a paralyzed student who graduated with honors Saturday.

In July 2007, Martin was severely injured in a car accident prior to starting her freshman year at UNC Charlotte. The accident left the aspiring dancer paralyzed from the neck down. 

According to Martin’s mother, Rhonda, they still have the letter encouraging Hannah not to give up on school and that her spot would remain until she was able to attend.

After months of recovery, Martin began taking classes in fall 2008, and on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012, she graduated with a double major in criminal justice and psychology, a minor in sociology and a 3.96 GPA.

During Saturday’s 3 p.m. ceremony, Chancellor Dubois shared Martin’s story with her fellow graduates and those in attendance, and she was the first student awarded her undergraduate degree that afternoon. The chancellor also presented her with a UNC Charlotte scarf.

For Martin’s parents, they expressed excitement and pride in their daughter’s accomplishments and appreciation for the chancellor’s gesture five years ago. “Please know just how much one handwritten note has meant to a girl who thought at one point her life was over.”

WBTV reported on Martin’s story prior to commencement. Click here to read the station's report and watch a video.

Inset photo - the Martins with Chancellor Dubois prior to Saturday's commencement ceremony.