Blind Student to Address Graduates at Marriott School Convocation

Adam Rushforth, Marriott School Convocation Speaker (photo by: Bradley H. Slade)
Adam Rushforth, Marriott School Convocation Speaker (photo by: Bradley H. Slade)

Instead of having his speech outline scribbled on a 3x5 card, Adam Rushforth will run his fingers over a Braille outline as he addresses students at Friday’s Marriott School convocation.

Rushforth, who graduates with a business finance bachelor’s degree, has coloboma, an iris defect, which began deteriorating his vision when he was young. The condition, coupled with glaucoma and detached retinas, has left him blind in his right eye and mostly blind in his left.

Despite this, Rushfoth has maintained a positive attitude and a determination to achieve. “I’ve had discouraging moments, but I’ve never felt overwhelmingly discouraged,” he says. “Growing up in the Church and having a good, eternal perspective has strengthened me. The support I’ve received from my family and friends has been the most helpful and influential.”

From January to June 2003, Rushforth took time off from BYU to attend the Louisiana Center for the Blind. He was trained—with the computer screen turned off—to use Microsoft programs and the Internet by listening to audio cues through headphones. As a student he has worked at BYU’s University Accessibility Center teaching computer skills to other blind students.

Besides tackling the challenges of business school, Rushforth has also served a Spanish-speaking mission to North Carolina, built a grandfather clock and maintained an impressive 3.97 GPA. In high school he was valedictorian, participated in a play and even ran track for a year. He and his wife, Celeste, are expecting their first child.

Rushforth is one of the 347 students who will be graduating from the Marriott School this week. The college convocation will be held Friday, Aug. 13 in the Marriott Center at 11 a.m. Sheri Dew, president and CEO of Deseret Book, will be the other featured speaker.

“I have always enjoyed business and have always been business-minded,” Rushforth says. “Attending the Marriott School was a great experience, and I’m glad I had the opportunity.”

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems, organizational behavior and entrepreneurship. The school’s mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School’s graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938 or 787-9989
Writer: Emily Smurthwaite (801) 422-1152