Mother earns honorary degree after helping quadriplegic son through college

Marty O’Connor recently graduated with his mother’s help, and she pushed him across the stage to receive his diploma, KTLA reported

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But the announcer had a surprise for her, calling her a “special individual.” The university gave her a diploma of her own.

The faculty, administration and board of trustees agreed to give her an honorary degree.

The retired elementary school teacher attended all classes with her son, taking notes for him.

Her son is the one who came up with the idea.

“I was just so excited for her because she deserved it so much,” Marty O’Connor told KTLA.

Marty O’Connor became a quadriplegic after falling down a flight of stairs in 2012, two years after he received his undergrad degree from the University of Colorado, Chapman University officials said.

He went through physical therapy five days a week. He got stronger physically, but needed a mental challenge, so he decided to try graduate school. 

Judy O’Connor, who was living and teaching in Florida when he was injured, moved across the country to help her son.

And while technology like voice recognition helped, he needed to take notes and handwritten tests. His mother served as his hands when writing was involved.

Marty O’Connor will be part of a sports startup called DIVERTcity as its head of corporate sponsorship and will have a professional assistant to help him, Chapman University said.

File photo
Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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