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Standing Ovation: Michigan Mother Misses Her Own Graduation to Attend Son’s Ceremony — Only to Receive the Surprise of a Lifetime

A Michigan mother didn’t make it to her graduation from Ferris State University over the weekend because she was busy attending her son’s commencement at Central Michigan University.

However, Sharonda Wilson got quite the surprise Saturday when she was called from the audience and bestowed with her degree.

Sharonda Wilson

Sharonda Wilson received her degree after skipping her own graduation ceremony to attend her son’s. (Central Michigan University / Twitter video screenshot)

Central Michigan posted the heart-warming moment to its Twitter account, capturing the moment Wilson’s son, Stephan, placed a mortarboard on his mom’s head as the crowd in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, erupted in raucous applause.

CMU President Dr. Bob Davies addressed the crowd, saying: “I made a call today when I found this out, to David Eisler, the president of Ferris State University. So please pay attention.”

Davies goes on to formally graduate Wilson with her bachelor’s degree.

“On behalf of President Eisler and Ferris State trustees, I confer upon you, Sharonda Wilson, the bachelor’s degree that you’ve earned,” he said. “Please move your tassel from your right to your left.”

Wilson happily did so as her son stood beside her, beaming as he cheered her on. Her graduation was also met with a standing ovation, as thousands in the arena stood to their feet to applaud her academic success.

Stephan, who’s now on a multi-state music tour with CMU’s School of Music  Chamber Singers, said he couldn’t be more proud of his mother and that he was happy to share this special moment — their special moment — together.

“I’d been looking forward to walking across that stage and accepting my degree for a long, long time,” he said in a statement. “Earning my degree was such a huge milestone in my life, [and] having my mom with me to celebrate that moment was an unbelievable blessing. I am so proud of us both.”

Social media users who saw the video also wasted no time piling on the praise for Wilson.

“Humans being humans! Keep it up!” one Twitter user wrote. “Congrats to mom & son! So cool!”

“Beautiful moment,” a CMU alum wrote. “Proud of my Alma mater #FireUpChips”

“Awww this is great!!!!” another chimed in.

In a statement, Davies described the commencement ceremony as a “celebration of student achievement” and said Sharonda and Stephan deserved to celebrate together after four years of hard work and tending to their studies.

“[Graduation] acknowledges the passion, dedication and enthusiasm required to earn a college degree,” he said. “We appreciated the opportunity to partner with our friends at Ferris State to recognize and celebrate this milestone achievement for both Stephan and Sharonda.

Watch more in the clip below.

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