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Degree for Dunten - Texas A&M Former Students for Jared Dunten

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For those that don’t know Jared Dunten, well first you are missing out, and second you can find out almost everything you need to know about him from going to and There you will see how one of the most charismatic and energetic people you could ever meet has re-invented himself in the face of paralysis. Below is an excerpt from his website with his story…

 In April of 2000, while on a camping trip in the Chisos Mountains, I dove into the Rio Grande with a bar of soap to clean myself up a bit. I woke up in an ICU in Lubbock, Texas paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator. I had broken my neck and injured my spinal cord. Marty Butler, my childhood and close friend had kept me breathing and saved my life in the river. In the hospital…some said I would never breathe on my own or even speak again. After roughly a month and a half I began to breathe on my own. I began to recover.

I was flown to TIRR (The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research) in Houston, Texas where I was in rehab for another 6 months. There I managed to fight my way off the vent and have the feeding tube removed. The unwavering love of my mother and father pushed me forward. I had amazing support from friends, family, co-workers and strangers. I also received an incredible call from GSD&M, the advertising agency where I work as a copywriter. They assured me not to worry about my job or a place to live. And they would help with the building of a small house next to my parents home. … I continued to get healthier and was eventually released to go home.

 In 2002 encouraged by my parents I began to paint using just my mouth. In 2004 I was awarded a student membership to the MFPA (Mouth and Foot Painting Artists) based in Lichtenstein. I am now studying oil painting with artist, Philip Wade.

 I will paint myself out of this wheelchair.

 I recently married the love of my life and we live just outside of Austin. I continue with physical therapy. I also continue to write for the agency and look forward to the day I can run around Town Lake again.

 I will overcome paralysis. I will paint myself out of this wheelchair.

 As noted above the websites tell the story of how Jared works everyday to overcome paralysis, through his painting and with the support of his family and his amazing wife Kim. His infectious positive outlook on life has allowed him to meet the challenges he has faced head on. While he has not only responded to those challenges with vigor and contempt he asks for one more and that is WHERE YOU COME IN, WHERE THE 12th MAN COMES IN.

 This petition is addressed to every former or current student at Texas A&M University who knows what it means to wear the ring. Graduating from Texas A&M is a feeling that Jared desperately wants to know, and know it he can. Before his accident Jared was about a semester’s worth of hours short of getting his degree from A&M, and now he wants to make good on that commitment. All Jared is asking for is an opportunity. He is not asking that anyone give him a degree. He is asking for the opportunity to complete his work at A&M. He is asking for admittance. WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO SIGN THIS PETITION AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR JARED TO GET HIS DEGREE.

 This sounds simple enough right? Jared is clearly a capable person, just look at what he has accomplished since his accident and I am sure everyone can easily see how this course work could be done online as so much college course work is performed in that manner these days. Oh wait, but there are rules. Rules that say some coursework from other accredited universities may not be admissible, rules that say you must finish the final 15 hours on campus to complete your degree at A&M, rules that say blah blah blah….

 Everyone on this list knows the rules. We all followed the rules. We believe in the rules. We manage to find a way to achieve our goals and fill our needs in an orderly and disciplined fashion, within the rules.

 Some situations just don’t fit the rules. Some needs and goals are bigger than the rules.

 By these rules Jared Dunten ’96, can never graduate from Texas A&M. We are asking President Loftin to find a way to suspend the rules, bend the rules, break the rules, to enable Jared Dunten to finish his academic requirements and graduate from Texas A&M.

 Jared has been in contact with the administration at A&M for the last couple of years and has written several letters that have been met with the usual rejection and pitfalls of bureaucracy. Jared actually took some classes at Texas State and could get a degree from there as a dean noted in a letter to him. There is just one problem with that. No one has a burning desire to graduate from Texas State! Jared has a burning desire to graduate from Texas A&M.

Sure it would be great for you to buy a painting from him and support his work at, and it would be awesome if you were to support the fight against paralysis and make a donation at but that is not what we are asking of you here. We are asking for your name in support of giving Jared a chance to complete his degree from A&M. This weekend at the Nebraska Game Jared will be recognized on the field for both his amazing story and being an aggie. We would like to combine your support with this recognition of the 12th man in order for Jared’s story to include a Degree from A&M.

 Nothing is impossible

 Former Students for Jared Dunten


Former Students for Jared Dunten


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