Please note that Laurence changed his major after filming this video.
Laurence Walker ’24, an Access student, is an educational studies major with a minor in disability services. He’s a parent, a poet, and a third-generation pastor.
He also is a stroke survivor, a cancer patient, and the student representative for the University of Lynchburg’s Neurodiversity Alliance, a group he founded at Lynchburg.
Through the alliance, Walker advocates for other students with intellectual disabilities. He also works at the University’s Beard Center on Aging, a campus office that helps older adults through community education, engagement, and outreach.
Having survived four strokes and living with a rare form of cancer, Walker said, “I decided to use my extra chance at life to help out as much as I can.”
After earning his degree, he wants to get a master’s in behavioral therapy, return to Lynchburg for his Doctor of Education, and then open a school for people with disabilities.
“It’s one thing being a teacher who wants to help those kids, but it’s another one being them,” he said. “So you have to have that extra, in-depth knowledge, and getting a degree can help me be the best at that particular job.”
After waking up from a three-month-long coma, Walker said doctors told him he’d never walk, talk, or learn again. He wants to show the world that people like him can attend college and succeed.
“They told me I could not do it and they said I will never be able to learn again,” he said. “So, I said, ‘If there is no statistic that says I can do it, then I’ll be that statistic.'”