- The mom of a quadriplegic grad student received an honorary degree
- She had attended all classes with him
- The only way he could go back to school was if she helped him with all the assignments
The mother of a quadriplegic graduate student decided she would not stop at making sure her son achieved everything he proposed to do, including graduate school.
29-year-old Marty O’Connor received a 10,000 per year scholarship and enrolled in Chapman University. He was going to need his mother’s help 24x7 in order to be able to go on with his goal.
During commencement, the university’s authorities came up with a great surprise for his mom Judy: she was awarded an honorary degree! The well-deserved prize was given out at her son’s graduation ceremony on Saturday.
Judy decided to move from their hometown in Florida to California in order to help her son with classes. She accompanied him to every lesson, took notes and helped him with every assignment. Marty had been paralyzed since 2010, when he suffered a tragic fall.
Judy, who is a business graduate of University of Notre Dame and a teacher, took this change of life as a challenge.
With regard to the odds of going back to school, Marty said it “challenged me to do some introspection and see what strengths I do have to utilize, and how I can use my situation to work on some new strengths. This has really forced upon me some patience and thoughtfulness in everything I’m doing.”
The degree Judy received was kept a secret until last moment. It was only when Marty’s name was called out that the announcer commented the faculty, administration and board of trustees had decided to give a “special individual” an honorary degree. They then called out Judy’s name. “Mrs. Judith O’Connor has attended all the classes with her son Marty,” the announcer said.
The moment was particularly special for both mother and son. “As a mom, you just want to help your kids get through things,” she said, adding that she had “always believed in him. I knew he could do it and I just wanted to have his back.”
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