May 19-25, 2000
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Sullivan Award winners show deep commitment to caring
Here's the youngest 'Hoo
Wagner exemplifies value of mentoring

Rector unearths love for human evolution

Dyslexia forced graduate to create own path for success
Boiler passes a special test
Already a pioneering online journalist, graduate plans to take on TV reporting
Student's mentoring program takes root
Medical student with passion for public health earns second master's degree
Groundskeeper has watched U.Va. and its landscape grow
Help wanted: not just for high-tech fields, but for teaching jobs, too
BUCKS' vision to give back to community will continue
Watson discovers teaching and takes history to the Web
Seeing double
Heard's degree painted with broad strokes
May graduate's dream shows how education transforms lives
Bryson Patterson
Stephanie Gross
Bryson Patterson

Dyslexia forced graduate to create own path for success

By Ida Lee Wootten

Diagnosed with severe dyslexia at age five, Bryson Patterson was told that he would never finish high school. Despite the learning disability, Patterson will earn a bachelor's in history May 21.

For his senior thesis in history, he researched coastal fortifications used during the Civil War. Working with his adviser, noted Civil War scholar Gary Gallagher, Patterson read diaries from the 1860s, tattered records exchanged between Civil War generals and fragile copies of speeches. Although the dyslexia makes reading a slow, laborious process, he does not regard it as a handicap -- just "a way of life" -- and found the long hours of research "a fun, learning adventure."

"Bryson's paper, with a bit more research and some revisions, has strong potential to be published in one of the popular Civil War journals," said history professor Gallagher. "He analyzed the evidence from a fresh perspective." Patterson plans to follow Gallagher's advice then submit his paper for publication.

To complete his studies through high school and at the University, Patterson relied heavily on listening to books on tape provided by the Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. At U.Va., the Learning Needs and Evaluation Center also recorded texts recommended by faculty for him.

"It's wonderful to be living in a time where there is so much technology to help the dyslexic," Patterson said, adding, "I'm fortunate to have parents who have recognized my problems and made things available to me." He also credits the tutors he had from the age of five through 13.

After graduating from U.Va., he and two friends plan to hike the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail that runs from Maine to Georgia, although he admits he is "not placing any bets on finishing." The trio has set a goal of completing the trek by Thanksgiving.

See press release on Dyslexia Forced Graduate to Create Own Path for Success


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