When Sandy Spoonemore ’87 entered Baylor as a sophomore in the fall of 1984, she was Baylor’s first wheelchair-bound student. And getting around wasn’t particularly easy in the days prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act, which wouldn’t be passed for another six years.
So Spoonemore and a friend headed over that spring to the monthly meetings that President Herbert Reynolds held with students and told him how challenging it was to navigate the campus.
“He was mortified that I was having a tough time,” she recalls. “So he assigned someone from his staff to follow me around for a week and promised to get it fixed. When I returned to campus in the fall, the university had spent a lot of money in renovations just for me – to help me get to classes, to go to the Student Union, and they even created a wheelchair spot in the student section at Floyd Casey Stadium so I could watch the games with my friends.”
Spoonemore says Baylor helped her by “treating me like any other student. They held me to the same expectations and taught me to advocate for myself and push through challenges. (Graduating from Baylor) gave me a huge sense of accomplishment and a feeling of camaraderie with the Baylor Nation.”
Sandy’s Baylor Experience took her down a path that resulted in being named Ms. Wheelchair Texas earlier this month. She’ll spend the next year traveling the state advocating for the disabled population of Texas. She’ll also travel to Grand Rapids, MI, in August to compete for the title of Ms. Wheelchair America.
Spoonemore, who was diagnosed at age 2 with a form of Muscular Dystrophy that has kept her in a wheelchair since then, employs a “Defying Gravity” platform based on her view that “everyone has a purpose, everyone has a value. And each person should live for their Dream, pushing through challenges in pursuit of that dream.”
Sandy graduated from Baylor with a degree in Computer Information Systems that took her first to corporate America before becoming part of the Independent Sales Force of Mary Kay Cosmetics in 1999 and then promoted herself to an Independent Sales Director in 2002, where she currently manages and mentors an 85-woman team from her home in Plano, Texas. In 2009, Spoonemore won the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.
- The Baylor professor who had the greatest impact on me was… Dr. Robert Sloan, my religion professor who was so incredibly knowledgeable about the Bible but then I watched him grow into becoming the President of the University and saw that individuals who are very well versed in the Bible can achieve many other “worldly” levels of success.
- My superpower is…Positivity!
- My approach to saying no for requests for my time or resources is…To identify someone who can take my place.
- The proudest moment of my career to this point is…Being an inspiration and testimony to what you can do if you just put your mind to it.
My creative process begins with…Brainstorming on a whiteboard.
- The best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten is…Never give up.
- For breakfast, I eat…Eggs, biscuits and gravy, and hash browns.
- My favorite place in Texas is…My hometown of Plano.
- The advice I give young college graduates is…To live their life for their dreams and push until they get there.
- One place I find overrated is…Hard Rock Café
- My favorite app is…Zedge because it has great ringtones.
- One cool thing that’s on my bucket list is…To meet Jerry Lewis.
- If I could have one meal from the road again, it would be…Fried Catfish at Cracker Barrel with mashed potatoes and Coca Cola cake.
- One place I could return to again and again is…Sydney, Australia.
- One of the great satisfactions of my life has been…To watch God use me as His testimony of Philippians 4:13.
- I always splurge on…Clothes and Shoes.
- I never splurge on…Food
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