Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Chicago college graduate is a role model for students with autism

They were setbacks that could have easily sent him spiraling, but Paris King pushed through and is now officially a graduate of Roosevelt University.

The 23-year-old is on the autism spectrum, and after graduating from high school with honors, the history lover was encouraged by his family to go to college. Over the last four years, he faced immense challenges: His father died his freshman year, and just eight weeks later he himself was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As a sophomore, he was mugged and during his junior year, doctors discovered that his mother had stage 3 breast cancer. Through it all, King never skipped class, always turned in his assignments, and even made new friends through a club for students who enjoy playing video games. "I came to college so I can learn more about the world we live in," he told the Chicago Tribune. "It has been a fun experience, but it has been hard."

King worked closely with Danielle Smith, the university's associate director of academic success. She was inspired by the King family and how much they supported Paris, and she hopes he'll be seen as a role model for other people with autism or disabilities who want to go to college. "Paris never has a bad attitude," she said. "He always finds a way to do it."