UT Austin

#BeBetter Hero of the Month

This month’s #BeBetter hero is actually two individuals. So get ready to double up on some pretty inspiring motivation to never throw in the towel, even when it seems like all odds are against you.

David Carter, 67, had struggled for years with mental health issues, including schizophrenia and substance abuse, that force him to leave school nearly 49 years ago.

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“We admire his courage and persistence.”

- Doug Dempster, UT Austin College of Fine Arts Dean

Originally enrolled n the school’s studio art program, Mr. Carter was involved in an incident with alcohol which injured his hand that seriously impaired his ability to draw. This caused him to eventually drop out and left him without a permanent home for several years as he hitchhiked across the country.

6 years ago though, he landed back in Austin and was given access to subsidized housing through the non-profit, Caritas of Austin.

Enter our co-star Ryan Chandler. As a 20-year old government and journalism major, Chandler encountered Carter on what’s know as “The Drag” near the university’s campus. Often times, Chandler would see Carter panhandling on this thoroughfare to help cover the housing costs he had become reliant upon.

“I couldn’t believe his experience and his connection to UT,” Chandler confessed once he had peeled back the layers to Carter’s story and how he had attended UT Austin so many years ago.

This set off a fire in Chandler who ended up petitioning the school on Mr. Carter’s behalf to try and get him re-enrolled in classes. Working his way through the chain of administrative offices and procedures, even covering his application fee, Chandler was dedicated to rectifying the situation.

And 6 months later, that’s exactly what happened.

Carter will now be taking just two classes, starting this month, during the summer semester. This will help him ease back into the flow of college and hopefully will set him up for the rigors of a full-course load come this fall.

“I’ve got $90 and I’m going to invest it back into going to school.” Carter told the local NBC news when he found out he had been accepted back to school. And with aspirations to make this opportunity count, he’ll undoubtedly have a long road ahead of him.

In all honesty, Carter’s future is in his own hands. Being a full-time student, he’ll have access to myriad resources that schools across the country are finally starting to put into place to better help those who may be overwhelmed with the independence and responsibility of a college education.

But we’re certainly rooting for him and want to thank all the people who made this incredible story possible. Clearly, there are good people in this world who just want to do what’s right, which is the embodiment of our message here at I Do It For Her.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up to speed with each #BeBetter hero of the month and all the latest happenings inside of I Do It For Her. Summer break is upon us but that doesn’t mean we aren’t dedicated each and every day to helping low-income students get the chance at a life changing college education.