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Story of a ‘Journey’

Adjunct faculty member shares his story of overcoming obstacles 

Writing a book is the last thing Wayne Magee wanted to do. However, after losing his mother and brother within the span of two years, he knew he had to tell his story to honor their memory.  

“My mom and brother were my biggest cheerleaders,” Magee said. “I had to share my story because of their involvement in my life, their encouragement and support.”  

His book, Tough Blows: A Lifelong Journey of Defying the Odds shares how he’s applied his motto, “Take heart, take charge and get T.O.U.G.H.” in order to come out on the other side of some extremely difficult challenges.  

Magee, who teaches management and organizational courses at Bridgewater State University, was diagnosed at birth with cleidocranial dysplasia (CCD), a rare genetic skeletal disorder, and suffered from reoccurring respiratory conditions. Because of these limitations, doctors told Magee’s family he would not live past the age of two.  

He was placed in foster care and grew up within the system and was often bullied by peers because of his circumstances. 

“I had to wear a helmet to participate in any type of physical activity to protect my head. Outside that I had learning challenges and was enrolled in learning disability classes,” Magee said.  

When he eventually landed in the foster home of a woman named Ida, and things took a significant turn. At age 14, Ida officially adopted Magee and helped him build a foundation to grow from. 

“She had a strong faith and shared it with me. She encouraged me to keep striving, despite the challenges I faced…my faith and her encouragement gave me the strength to keep moving forward,” Magee said.  

He initially wanted to pursue a career in the military but was denied because of his physical limitations. Instead, he opted to explore a career in music, a passion of his.  

He graduated with a degree in music from Youngstown State University but wanted to do more, to serve in a leadership role.  

So, he went on to earn a master’s degree in leadership from Northeastern University and took his skills to Massachusetts Maritime Academy, where he works as director of bands and assistant director of student residential life.  

When the chance to teach as an adjunct faculty member in BSU’s Ricciardi College of Business’ management program presented itself, Magee knew he had to take it.  

“I saw an opportunity at BSU. I wanted to get into a classroom formally and feel my background, overcoming obstacles, it’s relatable to some of the students,” Magee said. “I try to teach and coach them…I share my story and encourage them that they can do it, they can overcome similar challenges.” 

Since arriving at BSU in 2019, he’s shared his story and knowledge with many Bridgewater students and encourages them to tell their own stories, to use their personal backgrounds as guidance.  

“A lot of them don’t know what it is they want to do,” Magee said. “I ask a lot of questions; Bridgewater students are very diverse. I ask them to bring their own experiences to the classroom and speak about how that relates to their current situations.” 

As someone who has continually been met with challenges, he tells his students with confidence that they, too, can find their own level of success.  

“My goal in sharing my story is to help others. That’s what my book is about, that’s why I teach…If I can help and encourage one other person, if I can do that, then it’s all worth it,” Magee said.  

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