Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor Jeff Bauman, received an honorary degree and delivered the commencement address at the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover on June 5th, 2015, MSLAW Dean, Michael L. Coyne announced today.
“We are thrilled to be able to present an honorary degree to Jeff Bauman,” said Dean Coyne. “His dramatic story, beginning at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon and continuing through his uplifting recovery, is an inspiration to everyone here in Boston. Jeff is indeed a beacon of hope for people around the world and our graduating class will truly benefit from hearing this powerful story during his commencement address.”
Jeff spoke to the graduates about facing adversity, the strength derived from teamwork, and fighting through the worst of times to accomplish one’s goals. The graduates were excited to have Jeff on hand, as his inspiring story serves as a lesson to everyone facing any kind of uphill battle.
Jeff’s story is familiar to everyone in Boston. Standing at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon, Jeff was waiting to watch his girlfriend Erin finish the race when he noticed an ominous looking man who seemed out of place. Moments later, the first of two explosions rocked Boylston Street and Jeff was seriously injured, losing both of his legs. Jeff was certain that he was going to die until Carlos Arrendondo, now known as the man in the cowboy hat appeared out of nowhere. Carlos, a peace activist who was at the marathon that day to hand out American flags in honor of his fallen sons, lifted Jeff and got him to an ambulance, saving his life. At the hospital after surgery, Jeff was able to provide key information to the FBI, helping them identify the two suspects. Today Jeff is the New York Times best-selling author of Stronger, and shares his dramatic story of strength and resilience with audiences across the country.
“Jeff Bauman’s story is not merely a triumph-over-adversity story but a lesson for all of us in overcoming great obstacles through strength of character, an optimistic outlook, and sheer will. Jeff Bauman was at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15th when the first bomb went off at his feet. He woke up the next day in Boston Medical Center missing his legs. When he could not speak, he struggled to write the words that helped identify the Marathon Bombers. In many ways Jeff, is the human face of the Boston Marathon bombing victims.
Up until the marathon, Jeff had been a normal 27-year-old living life day to day like many of us. When his life was turned upside down in unfathomable ways, Jeff did not give up. Instead, he faced life’s biggest challenge with grace, humor, and renewed sense of purpose. The Marathon Bombers may have taken his legs but they would not take his life from him.
Jeff Bauman’s story is not just his, but ours as well. Jeff defines what Boston Strong really means. Jeff continues to face life-altering challenges with extreme courage and relentless determination. He is the ultimate example that strength of character ultimate defines who we are and the life we choose to live.” – Dean Michael L. Coyne