A touching moment coordinated by two university heads to confer a mom's degree at her son's graduation ceremony has gone viral across social media after one school, Central Michigan University, captured the moment and shared it on Facebook over the weekend.
Stephan Wilson and his mom, Sharonda, both graduated from two separate universities in Michigan this year. However, their ceremonies fell on the same day.
Stephan graduated with a degree in fine arts in musical theater from Central Michigan University. Sharonda was also scheduled to graduate that same Saturday with a bachelor's degree from Ferris State University. Sharonda decided to skip her own graduation so she could attend Stephan's.
A spokesperson for CMU told BuzzFeed News that the school's president, Bob Davies, learned about this unfortunate circumstance after a friend of Stephan's made mention of it the morning of the graduation.
"One of Stephan’s friends works in President Davies’ office as a student worker," said Ari Harris, the assistant communications director for the university. "She saw a post on Stephan’s Facebook page about Mrs. Wilson skipping her ceremony in order to watch Stephan walk."
Davies then placed a call to David Eisler, the president of Ferris State University. Together, the two university heads surprised both Stephan and his mom by presenting Sharonda with her own graduation cap, and a mini ceremony, during Stephan's graduation.
"On behalf of president Eisler and Ferris State trustees ... please move your tassel from your right to your left," Davies announced to Sharonda as the crowd erupted in applause. Her son cheered on his mom next to her.
In a statement provided to BuzzFeed News, Davies said he wanted to make sure the Wilsons both got "the chance to celebrate together as a family" as it was a "milestone achievement."
“The commencement ceremony is a celebration of student achievement and it acknowledges the passion, dedication and enthusiasm required to earn a college degree," he said. "Sharonda and Stephan both put in the long hours and hard work, and they deserved the chance to celebrate together as a family."
BuzzFeed News has reached out to Stephan for comment. However, the school said the new graduate may be slow to respond because following the ceremony he immediately "jumped on a bus with the CMU School of Music Chamber Singers to begin a multi-state musical tour."
Central Michigan University provided BuzzFeed News with a statement on his behalf, in which he thanked both schools.
"Earning our college degrees has been an incredible journey for both my mom and I, and it was a blessing to stand beside her and celebrate together. I’m so thankful to President Davies and President Eisler for making this such a special moment for us,” said Stephan.
BuzzFeed News has also reached out to Sharonda for comment.