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Breaking Bad Star Speaks on Overcoming Disability

October 2, 2017
By: Breanna Forgione ’18, student correspondent

“There’s always a way around it. There’s always a way to push forward. No one should live in the idea that you can’t do something. If you want to do it, it’s yours. You have to make the decision to say ‘I can do this’ and ‘I will do this,’” said RJ Mitte, multi-faceted actor, producer, model and disability advocate, at the evening town hall event the 16th Annual U.S. Conference on disAbility.

Mitte, most commonly known for his role in the AMC Network show “Breaking Bad,” was the featured speaker for the talk hosted by The University of Scranton’s Panuska College of Professional Studies and Geisinger.

“Over the years, he has been an inspiration to his peers by campaigning for those with cerebral palsy in hopes of removing the stigma associated with disability. In order to bring awareness to his own issues with bullying and prejudice, he has engaged in public speaking, and serves as the official ambassador for United Cerebral Palsy and Shriner’s Hospital for Children,” said Debra Pelligrino, Ed.D., dean of the Panuska College of Professional Studies in her introduction of Mitte.

Mitte discussed his personal challenges in being diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of 3, and how he has utilized his disability as a strength to learn more about himself and the people around him.

“The word ‘can’t’ is a decision – a conscious one – and I was never given the opportunity to say ‘can’t.’ We all have these challenges that will beat us down and make us feel weak,” said Mitte. “You just have to learn how to evolve with it.”

The actor also addressed the importance in trying to make a difference in other people’s lives with acts of kindness.

“There’s a lot of things that we can’t prevent in this world. But we can make ourselves aware of what’s going on around us. It all comes down to how we treat people, and you can make an impact,” said Mitte.

Aside from his role as Walt Jr. in “Breaking Bad,” Mitte has also appeared in ABC Family’s “Switched at Birth” and in the films “Dixieland,” “Who’s Driving Doug” and “The Recall.” He has modeled in national and international men’s fashion advertising campaigns, and is the celebrity face for the #CutTheBull campaign, which launched in October 2014 in support of children with disabilities.

The conference concluded with a question and answer session with attendees, where Mitte offered sage advice to those entering therapy-related fields and highlighted the benefits of equal opportunity employment.

A standing-room-only crowd of more than 600 students and guests attended the talk in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center, with an overflow audience watching via a live stream in the Moskovitz Theater.

Following the talk, Mitte signed autographs and took photos with hundreds of students and guests.

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“Breaking Bad” star R.J. Mitte delivered the evening presentation at The University of Scranton’s 16th Annual U.S. Conference on disAbility to a standing-room only crowd of more than 600 students and guests in the McIlhenny Ballroom of the DeNaples Center, with an overflow audience of watching via a live stream in the Moskovitz Theater. The presentation was co-sponsored by Geisinger. Caption/Photo Gallery (disAbilityMitte- STUDENTS_Gallery) Actor RJ Mitte, who played Walter “Flynn” White Jr. in the television series “Breaking Bad,” spoke to students media representing Royal Studios (Royal TV Network) and the Aquinas prior to his presentation of The University of Scranton’s 16th Annual U.S. Conference on disability.

Breanna Forgione ’18, Levittown, is a strategic communication major at The University of Scranton.
Breanna Forgione ’18, Levittown, is a strategic communication major at The University of Scranton.
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