2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

UCCS commencement a milestone for Paralympian

Published: December 18, 2013, 1:36 pm, by Debbie Kelley

UCCS Signature (2)



From the University of   Colorado at Colorado Springs’ official spokesman, Tom Hutton, comes this story about Friday’s summer and fall graduation ceremony.

It’s tough to top the thrill of a Paralympic opening ceremony.

But a graduating University of Colorado at Colorado Springs student thinks the December 2013 UCCS commencement ceremonies will come close.

Bryce Boarman, 23, of Colorado Springs, a prospective graduate of the UCCS College of Business Sports Management Program, will join an estimated 450 other prospective December graduates during a 2 p.m. ceremony on Friday at the Colorado Springs World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd. There, CU and UCCS dignitaries will offer remarks and officially confer degrees.

Four generations – siblings to great-grandparents — will cheer for Boarman Friday. That’s two more generations than were able to visit London in 2012 when he represented the United States in the Paralympic sport of seven-a-side football or, as it is known in the U.S., soccer. He turned 22 the same day as the opening ceremonies.

“It’s going to be cool in the same way,” Boarman said. “Getting to the Paralympics was an achievement just as finishing my degree is an achievement.”

As an infant, Boarman was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, an umbrella term for a congenital non-progressive, non-contagious condition that restricts body movement, often the legs and hands. Early on, Boarman developed an “impossible is nothing” philosophy that led him to the soccer field at age 6 and, eventually, an invitation to play on the U.S. Paralympic team.

“I’ve had people ask me if I could go back in time and be born without a disability, would I?” Boarman said. “I got lucky. For me, this has been a blessing. I’ve gotten to travel the world and play soccer.”

Even before graduating from UCCS, Boarman is working on the next chapter in his life, enrolling as a graduate student at the University of Northern Colorado. He sees additional education as a necessary step toward his goal of a professional position in sports, possibly with the U.S. Olympic Committee or a national governing body for amateur sports. A job, and his favorite class at UCCS, sports marketing, was top of mind as he talked this week.

“Marketing deals with the events and interaction with athletes,” Boarman said. “I don’t necessarily want a job where I’m in the office all the time. I’d like to be around the sport itself. Choosing marketing or event management side of things gets me more involved.”

As in past years, commencement ceremonies will broadcast live online. To watch the approximately 90-minute ceremony on Dec. 20, visit www.uccs.edu/commencement/fall-ceremony.html.

The ceremonies will be rebroadcast on Comcast Channel 20, and posted to YouTube with closed captioning provided by the UCCS Office of Disability Services and Communication Access Services. For a schedule of the broadcasts, and other details, visit www.uccs.edu/commencement.

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest growing universities in the nation. The University offers 37 bachelor’s degrees, 19 master’s and five doctoral degrees. UCCS enrolls about 10,500 students on campus annually and another 2,000 in online programs.