She was Abandoned as a Baby at This University. Now She’s One of Its Graduates

(Photo: Jillian Sobol, center, celebrates at her graduation from San Francisco State University. / Credit: San Francisco Chronicle)

The fact that she survived at all is hard to believe.

It was 1984, and a mother had just given birth to a baby daughter in a dorm at San Francisco State University. The mother did not want the child – did not even want anyone to know she had given birth. So she dropped the placenta down a garbage chute, covered the baby in wet towels and left it to die in a box in a corner of the public laundry room.

Miraculously, however, even as the baby’s skin turned blue and it nearly died from hypothermia, a student happened to decide to do a late load of laundry that night. After seeing a slight movement beneath the towels in the box, he discovered the baby.

Decades later, that baby would return to the school in which she was born and nearly died, this time as a grown woman. Despite the difficulties she faced growing up, she now has a diploma to go along with her birth certificate.

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle:

Today, that abandoned baby is Jillian Sobol, 31. On Friday, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the campus where she was saved and her life began.

“I believe it to be a story of hope, joy, optimism, family and San Francisco State University,” said the former foundling, who today stands 5 feet 10 and, as on her first day of life, turns heads — now because of a glowing smile and a happy, outgoing disposition.

Yet despite her university birth, the idea of graduating from college felt beyond her abilities for much of her life.

Suffering from dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and other learning disabilities, Sobol had to study harder than other students and sought help wherever she could. Regardless, she still pushed herself. Opportunity Lives has previously reported on the drive of young people in taking personal responsibility for their futures, despite harsh setbacks, and Sobol exemplifies that desire.

She now plans on living a full life and continues to work hard for her own future.

Head over to the San Francisco Chronicle for the full story, including the heartbreaking family reunion.