Wright State University awarded nearly 1,700 degrees and certificates at its fall commencement Saturday.
The graduation included over 1,000 bachelor’s degrees, students from 54 Ohio counties and 28 states, and 221 international students from 24 countries.
One diploma was given to the family of a student who couldn’t attend because she was killed in May.
The university gave a degree to Andrea Heiser, who majored in statistics.
Her step-dad, Eric Sirons, shot and killed Heiser and her mom Jennifer Sirons in their home before killing himself.
News Center 7’s James Buechele talked with Randy Heiser, Andrea’s dad, about how he felt about the honor from Wright State.
Andrea’s dad, three sisters and her boyfriend accepted the degree on her behalf.
“The graduates walked in and of course as they’re walking by I’m thinking… where’s Andrea,” said Randy. “I always knew Andrea would graduate, I just never thought it would be like this.”
Wright State saw the hard work that Andrea put in, that’s why the university sent Randy a letter about the announcement that invited her family to receive the Bachelor of Science degree she was working towards.
“Read the first paragraph, tears started flowing,” he said. “She worked hard at everything she did, it didn’t matter what it was.”
A speech given at the graduation ceremony stated, “Known by her peers and faculty as a bright light. Andrea Heiser’s smile, maturity, and eagerness to learn and succeed were admired by many. Andrea was a planner and she was on the cusp of completing her undergraduate degree and more than ready to begin her master’s program. Her light and her love will stay with all who knew her.”
Randy could not thank Wright State enough for honoring his daughter with the degree.
“I just think it’s a very class act for Wright State to do something like this,” he said. “I just want her to know that we love her, just very proud of her.”