Moving Forward

A Fairfield University graduate’s inspiring tale

John Tartaglio

Oprah likes Fairfield University graduate John Tartaglio. He first appeared on Oprah in 2005, then again in 2009, and then on Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) this past January. Why? His story. At only seventeen years old, Tartaglio was diagnosed with a rare bacterial infection that resulted in both legs being amputated up to his hip bones. It didn’t stop him. He became the first person to run and complete a 5k and a 10k road race without legs. Then he ran the NYC Marathon. Also, he graduated cum laude in 2009 with a degree in biology. For good measure, he shared his story in the book From Tragedy to Triumph, which he coauthored with fellow Fairfield University graduate Andrew Chapin. As for appearing on Oprah that first time, he says, “It was a huge surprise. I had support from so many people, but no one expects Oprah to notice and support you. It was just ridiculous (in a good way!).” He explains that the follow-up appearances allowed him to share “how I have evolved as a person.” If you missed him on TV, you can read about his amazing story in his book. “My goal is to have each reader take at least one thing away that will positively impact their life. Specifically, I want people to see that they can live a more happy, confident and fulfilling life when they align each part of their lives to pursue what they value,” he says. When asked about his Fairfield days, he adds, “I have some of the best and most supportive friends because I went to Fairfield.” More at

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