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J.R. Martinez Delivers Keynote Address to West Coast University Graduates

Irvine, CA (PRWEB) May 26, 2013

J.R. Martinez, Iraq War Veteran, Purple Heart recipient, and 2011 Winner of Dancing with the Stars, delivered the keynote address at the 2013 Commencement Ceremony of West Coast University.

In March of 2003, J.R. was deployed to Iraq, and on April 5, less than a month into his deployment, he was driving a Humvee in Karbala when his left front tire hit a roadside bomb. The three other soldiers were ejected from the burning vehicle, but he was trapped inside and suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to 34 percent of his body.

J.R. spent 34 months in recovery surgery at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio, Texas, and underwent 33 different surgeries including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery. During recovery, a nurse asked him to speak to a burn patient, who had just seen his body for the first time and had become withdrawn. After a 45-minute visit, the patient opened the curtain letting light in his room and his heart. J.R. then understood the impact he had on this patient and decided to use his experience to help others. He continued to visit patients sharing his story and listening to theirs. While J.R.'s experience was certainly life-changing, amazingly, he claims this is actually a change for the better. “I discovered it is what is inside a person that matters most and I wouldn’t change anything…absolutely anything!" states J.R. "I do believe everything happens for a reason, and I'm extremely grateful for that day because it led me into this life!"

Mr. Martinez has become a highly sought after motivational speaker and he travels the country spreading his message of resilience and optimism. He devotes himself to showing others the true value of making the most of every situation. His commencement address to more than 650 graduating nurses, dental hygienists, and health care management scholars focused on the medical care he received during his grueling recovery, and the impact his nurse had on his specific efforts of rehabilitation. “We were honored to have Mr. Martinez join us for commencement, and to share his truly inspirational story. It was powerful for our graduates to hear, first-hand, the impact they will have on lives of so many throughout their careers,” stated Dr. Barry Ryan, President of West Coast University.

Commencement Ceremony Details
For over 100 years, West Coast University has celebrated the achievements and hard work of its graduates during a Commencement ceremony. On May 19, 2013, over 650 graduates celebrated their academic achievements and are now on their way to rewarding and satisfying careers in health care. As alumni, they will represent West Coast University and its mission as they work to improve their communities through their chosen professions.

The graduates received Master of Science in Health Care Management, Master of Science in Nursing, Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees. West Coast University’s programs are designed to ensure its students are prepared by equipping them with real-world clinical knowledge and simulated experience. West Coast University hopes that its graduates inspire innovation in their fields, achieve professional success, and contribute positively to the community.

Commencement was held at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, California where more than 5,000 people attended to participate in celebrating the graduating class. Special recognition was given to five BSN students as recipients of the prestigious Jarvis Scholarship Award, named after distinguished alumnus, Greg Jarvis who gave his life to science. Mr. Jarvis was part of the 1986 Challenger shuttle crew who died during a tragic explosion upon liftoff.

About West Coast University
West Coast University is one of Southern California’s leading health care educators, offering programs in nursing, health care management and dental hygiene at campuses in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties, and nursing programs at its new campus in Dallas, Texas. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) awarded programmatic accreditation to WCU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs in October 2009 and its Master of Science in Nursing program in May 2012. WCU’s Dental Hygiene program at the Orange County Campus is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) to offer the only Bachelor of Science Degree in Dental Hygiene (BSDH) in the County. It is one of only four BSDH programs in California. West Coast University is institutionally accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC – For more information, visit For regular updates on WCU news visit the Dr. Barry Ryan Blog.

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