SHU alum speaks out for autism awareness
At just 2 and a half years old, Kerry Magro said his first word. At five, he completed his first sentence. At 25, he published his first book that became a bestseller in three days.
Magro, an author, professional speaker, nonprofit founder and 2011 Seton Hall alumnus, is on a mission to tell his story. He was diagnosed with autism at four, and he also aims to tell others’ stories similar to his.
“The dream was just to get to college for so long,” Magro said. “Once I was there I realized the ‘impossible’ was possible.”
Magro found inspiration, friendship and even bigger dreams than before attending Seton Hall University, and the first goal he set while on campus was more disability support and awareness at SHU.
Seton Hall gave him tools, such as self-advocacy and goal setting, which he still uses today for success in his advocacy
“I used my personal story as a platform to help educate and spread resources to the Seton Hall community,” Magro told Seton Hall Magazine.
Magro sat on the Jim O’Brien Board, had a hand in creating the Student Disability Awareness (SDA) and was part of the Village Liaisons.
This leadership type is the setting that Jerry Walker, CEO of Team Walker, Inc., remembers him being the most natural in. “When you are a great person like Kerry, you make a great leader,” Walker said.
Since Seton Hall, Magro has gone on to start his own nonprofit organization called KFM Making a Difference, which provides college scholarships to students with autism.
One of Magro’s former professors, Scott Hebert, remembers him as a dedicated and engaged student.
“Given Kerry’s work in my classes, I am very pleased and not at all surprised at his many accomplishments,” Hebert said.
Magro has spoken at several conferences and events, including American Express, the Special Olympics, and the Autism Around The World Conference in Dubai. However, the 2014 TEDx conference in Magro’s hometown of Jersey City hit closest to home. The conference explored how the history and future of humans were both being shaped faster than ever, and Magro talked about the transition to college for autistic kids.
Magro often thinks “with the end in mind” as his mentor, Professor Michael Reuter, had taught him in college. His passion and motivation stemmed from the goals he sets for himself and others.
He is looking forward to spring 2019, when he will strive to receive his Ph.D in Educational Technology Leadership at New Jersey City University. This program will allow him to inspire people the same way Reuter had inspired him, through teaching at a college level “to make students more understanding of those with special needs.”
The future of Magro’s advocacy mission also lies within his books. He has written two books, “Defining Autism From The Heart” and “Autism and Falling in Love.” Next on his list is a Children’s book, his autobiography and books focusing on post-secondary education for the disabled. “[There is] much more writing to come,” he said.
Nicole Peregrina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.