Published: Aug. 6, 1997

Chinese Student Benefits From CU-Boulder’s Accessibility

Among the more than 1,000 students graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder on Saturday, Aug. 9, will be one student whose dream of a college education took her from her home in Guangzhou, China, to CU, where she was finally able to earn a master’s degree 21 years after finishing middle school in China.

For Xiaoyin “Sharon” Lu, 38, who was disabled by polio when she was only 10 months old, earning a master’s degree in Chinese literature means a shot at financial independence, as well as a new way of looking at the world gained through her education.

The story goes back to at least 1976, when Lu failed a physical exam required in her country before a student can continue studies at a university. Lu went to work at an import-export company, essentially giving up her goal until a friend encouraged her to apply for a fellowship at CU-Boulder in 1994.

With help from the Office of Disability Services, which launched a fund-raising campaign to buy a motorized scooter for her use in getting around campus, and improvements done to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act, Lu was able to complete her degree this summer.

Recalling her primary school years when she was forced to stay in her fifth-floor classroom all day without using the bathroom because it was on the first floor, Lu is grateful for the access to facilities at CU.

“I want to thank everybody who has helped me. The people here -- the friends and professors here -- they changed my life,’’ she said.