NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — About 860 students in cap and gown will cross the Tennessee State University stage this weekend, earning their diplomas. Approximately 150 of those students live with mood disorders, cognitive disorders, or physical impairments.

Forty-four-year-old Julian Walker is the only blind student graduating in the spring class of 2023. He lost his sight in 2012, after a minor car accident deployed airbags, hitting him in the face.

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“Having to relearn how to learn, it’s been a unique experience,” said Walker.

According to Walker, he wanted to show his children that they can accomplish whatever they set their minds to, no matter the setback.

He studied economics and finance and is graduating with a bachelor’s in business administration. He said the degree will help him expand his family business, Germantown Pub.

Walker is working on developing a program that will help other people with disabilities with employment opportunities. He said he hopes to get involved with the university’s office of disability, as they were instrumental in supporting his success.

“It does get challenging and stressful at times and I think maybe some of what I’ve gained at TSU and my experience can help people keep pushing through,” Walker said.

Walker told News 2 it’s surreal to be in this moment and he encourages everyone to pursue their goals.

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“There’s no reason not to do it. You gotta give it a try. You always gotta keep going. Always find where the resources are. There’s a way to get anything done regardless of the situation or the disability or impairment,” said Walker. “Just figure out the path and keep walking.” 

Walker will be a part of the undergraduate ceremony happening on Saturday, May 6 at 8 a.m. at Hale Stadium.