A mom who attended every class with her 29-year-old quadriplegic son with the goal of helping him earn an MBA degree got a big surprise at his weekend graduation ceremony: She was awarded her own honorary degree, KTLA reports. Judy O'Connor was called to the stage at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., where an announcer explained to the audience that O'Connor had taken notes and worked with her son Marty after he was paralyzed falling down a flight of stairs in 2012. It was his idea for O'Connor to be awarded the honorary degree, and the Chapman faculty, administration, and board of trustees agreed, Fox 61 reports.
"As a mom, you just want to help your kids get through things," O'Connor, a retired elementary school teacher, tells KTLA. "I always believed in him. I knew he could do it and I just wanted to have his back." Marty was able to use voice recognition software and other aids as he worked toward his MBA, but he needed his mom's help to write notes or test answers. While she was helping her son, O'Connor told Chapman's blog she had "enjoyed every minute" of the experience because "I'm a geek. I love being in school."