The sky’s the limit for disability campaigner

A disability rights campaigner who was told he would never walk or talk has graduated with a first-class Law degree at Staffordshire University

Jack Marshall in graduation robes holding a scroll

Jack has graduated with a first-class degree in Law with support from Staffordshire University

This university took a chance on me. It’s provided an environment which has allowed me to develop and flourish and pushed me out of my comfort zone.

Jack Marshall, LLB (Hons) Law

Jack Marshall has a rare neurological condition called Moebius Syndrome which means he has no facial nerves, is blind in one eye and requires two hearing aids.

Jack explained: “Doctors told my family I would never walk, talk or make anything of myself. I love a challenge and those words have fuelled me throughout my life.

“Previously teachers had told me that I wasn't academic enough and I never thought that I would get to uni. At Staffs, the Head of Law personally on his day off came to talk to me and to reassure me about the support that I would receive.”

Jack has received a variety of support to cover his needs at university, ranging from adapted facilities on campus to extra time during exams, and he has excelled on the LLB (Hons) Law degree.

“What makes me passionate about law is the fact that that one day I could help disabled people in my position and that motivates me in my life.” Jack commented.

“This university took a chance on me. It’s provided an environment which has allowed me to develop and flourish and pushed me out of my comfort zone.

“The lecturers are amazing. They actually engage with us, they want us to learn, they motivate us, they push us to our limits.”

An advocate for disability rights throughout his life, Jack has raised funds for various charities and in 2020 was awarded the British Empire Medal after being recognised in the Queen’s honour’s list for his charitable work.

Alongside his studies, Jack has led the Disabled Students’ Network which won ‘Student Network of the Year’ in the Students’ Union Proud To Be Staffs awards. In this role Jack has helped to organise Disability Awareness Week and other events on campus including powerchair football.

Jack also delivered a speech at his graduation ceremony to hundreds of fellow graduates and guests.

After graduating with first-class honours, Jack claims he has ‘unfinished business’ at Staffordshire University and has been accepted onto the LLM in Legal Practice to complete the LPC qualifying route to become a solicitor.

He added: “I had these barriers in front of me but, as my mum says, when you see a barrier you can go under it, you can go over it, or you can smash right through it. The sky's the limit!

“You don't tell anyone what they can do, you don't put anyone down and that's the message I want to get out to everybody at the university and in the outside world; that just because you're disabled, doesn't mean that you're inabled.”

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