Former Penn State wrestler Rohan Murphy to speak at Hazleton on March 27

Rohan Murphy presenting at high school gym with student

Rohan Murphy, seen here interacting with a student at a high school assembly in 2019, will speak at Penn State Hazleton on March 27.

Credit: Courtesy of Rohan Murphy

HAZLETON, Pa. — Nationally recognized motivational speaker, Paralympian and former Penn State wrestler Rohan Murphy will visit Penn State Hazleton for two free speaking engagements on Wednesday, March 27, in 1 Kostos Building. The first is open to students, faculty and staff and will take place from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. The second, open to the public, will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. 

After being born without a right hip joint and a partial left hip joint, Murphy had both legs amputated at the age of four. Undeterred, he went on to have a successful wrestling career at East Islip High School in New York and at Penn State, where he graduated in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. He has also represented the United States at competitions across the globe as an accomplished powerlifter.  

Since then, Murphy has traveled throughout the country to share his inspirational story of facing adversity and overcoming odds. His experiences have been featured by Sports Illustrated, ABC's 20/20, CBS News and Nike. 

After hearing his story first-hand at a professional development conference in 2023, Associate Teaching Professor of Rehabilitation and Human Services (RHS) Lorie Kramer knew Murphy would be an ideal speaker to bring to the campus, particularly for those in the RHS program, she said. 

“He was a dynamic, energetic speaker who shared his powerful message of setting goals, pursuing dreams, and staying motivated through life's challenges,” said Kramer, who is also coordinator of the campus RHS program. 

Kramer said she hopes Murphy’s appearance on March 27 will serve as a reminder that disabilities should not hold someone back from achieving their goals. 

“A person is much more complex than a disability,” she said. “Society tends to box people into their disabilities, only focusing on what someone cannot do. I hope the audience sees all that [Murphy] can do, has successfully accomplished, and will continue to achieve throughout his lifetime.”