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Twin dreams fuel host of opportunities for Robles

May 09, 2011

To say that ASU senior Anthony Robles has a lot of opportunities available to him after graduation would be a profound understatement. The NCAA wrestling champion is about to cash in on his newfound fame but says his biggest score will be when he collects his diploma later this month.

Born without a right leg, Robles won the title in the 125-pound weight class on March 19 when he defeated defending champion Matt McDonough from the University of Iowa, capping off a perfect 36-0 season. His inspirational story, indomitable spirit, and NCAA title has garnered worldwide media attention, including stories in People, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Reuters, Associated Press, ESPN, MSNBC, and the Arizona Republic. He says getting his bachelor’s degree fulfills a twin dream when he enrolled at the university five years ago.

“There were two things I wanted to accomplish when I came to ASU – win a national championship and graduate from college,” Robles said. “I achieved both this year. Winning the championship has been a dream come true, but the five years I spent here wouldn’t have meant a thing if I did not get my degree.”

Robles’ mother Judy, who works in the admissions office at ASU, said academics have always been stressed over sports in her household.

“Athletics are wonderful, but if any of my five children didn’t get good grades, then there was no reason for them to be involved in sports,” Judy said. “Wrestling is a huge part of Anthony’s life, but it’s not his whole life. His success in life will be dependent and attributed to his education.”

Duane Roen, assistant vice provost for University Academic Success Programs and faculty head in the School of Letters and Sciences, said despite the media circus that currently surrounds Robles, the 22-year-old business communications major is also an example in the classroom.

“All of us in the School of Letters and Sciences are very proud of Anthony Robles and his accomplishments in sports and in academics,” Roen said. “His achievements remind us that a steadfast commitment to excellence can lead to spectacular results – even a national championship in a very demanding sport. Anthony’s determination will serve him well throughout life.”

Robles said he’s going to put his degree to good use. The media attention has created several offers in the form of book, shoe and clothing deals, a movie option with Disney, an instructional wrestling DVD, and a string of motivational speaking engagements throughout the United States.

“My focus is about overcoming obstacles and teaching people to go for their dreams,” Robles said. “Everybody has their own unique circumstance and obstacles to overcome and deal with. It’s about rising above everything in those circumstances and achieving your individual goals. That’s the message of my life.”

Robles, along with approximately 530 students in the School of Letters and Sciences, will don a maroon and gold cap and gown and collect his diploma at 9 a.m., May 14, 2011, at Wells Fargo Arena in Tempe.

The School of Letter and Sciences offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs that prepare students for a rapidly changing marketplace, as well as foundational instruction in humanities, social and natural sciences, mathematics, and professional fields. The school is guided by the principles of student success, strategic partnerships within the university and the community, and interdisciplinary inquiry. Theory, creativity and applied learning are integrated as students build entrepreneurial opportunities both inside the university and in their communities. In addition, the school serves the citizens of Arizona by offering a variety of outreach programs that engage people in cultural events and lifelong learning.

For more information the School of Letters and Sciences convocation, visit

Marshall Terrill
ASU Office of Public Affairs