Inspirational graduate draws attention of the Globe, CBS News

Emily Gillis JD’15 spoke to CBS News and Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham about what it means for her to graduate from Suffolk Law this Saturday--after a three year course of study complicated by her cerebral palsy.

“For me, it’s not remarkable,” Emily told the Globe. “I don’t want someone to sit there and say I’m inspirational because I got out of bed every day and went outside even though I’m in a wheelchair. I’d rather it be: ‘You’re inspirational, because you did something I’m scared to do, and you found a path.’ ”

Gillis’ condition is called spastic quadriplegia and as a result she has used a wheelchair since she was 3. She told the Globe that she has little patience for those who think her disability defines her.

Gillis’ father Joseph moved from Maryland to Boston to help out and has been taking Emily to and from school each day for the last three years. Abraham writes, “For three years, he wheeled his daughter into a van, then onto the Red Line for the trip to Park Street. He took her to every class, got her settled at her desk, opened up her laptop, put her textbook before her, then headed to the library or the Frog Pond to wait for the changeover.

“At the end of each day, he did it all in reverse, then cooked and did laundry so that Emily could hit the books.”