Ryan Durham Success Story
Ryan Durham, who has cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia
(a form of spasticity intermediate between para-and
quadriplegia, with predominant involvement of the legs). was
sponsored by the Tennessee Division of Rehabilitation Services (TDRS)
from 1993 until 2003. Vocational Rehabilitation paid Mr.
Durham’s tuition and personal care attendant services while
attending Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). He was
elected Student Government Association President at MTSU, as
well as being appointed by Governor Don Sundquist as Student
Regent for the 1997-98 school year. He received a degree in
Electronic Media Journalism in 1998, graduating summa cum laude.
After he graduated, he was sponsored by TDRS through MTSU for a
12-hour graduate Internship at the State Capitol during the
Mr. Durham entered graduate school in the spring of 2000 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville (UTK). While at UTK he was a member of the Student Bar Association, Christian Legal Society, Law and Medicine Society, and Sports and Entertainment Law Journal. He also coached the undergraduate mock trial team. He was named to the Dean’s list, received the William H. Wicker Scholarship, Manier and Herod Scholarship and was a Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellow. He is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council on the class scholarship fundraising committee. Mr. Durham received his Doctor of Jurisprudence with honors in the spring 2002. He is now employed full-time with a prestigious firm in Nashville as a Corporate Litigation Attorney, and on January 22, 2003, his Vocational Rehabilitation case was closed with a successful employment outcome by his Counselor, Randall Boothe of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee.
In July 1996, Mr. Durham was an Olympic torch bearer. He received the flame in Franklin, Tennessee and carried it .6 mile to the city square. He stated, “I earned the chance to be a torch bearer. A lot of people feel sorry for people with disabilities, but it’s a part of me. I wouldn’t be the same person if I didn’t have cerebral palsy. If someone told me that they could wave a magic wand and I wouldn’t have a disability, I wouldn’t do it because I like where I am now.”