Surprise for a Mother Who Helped Her Paralyzed Son in Every Class

“We spent a lot of late-night hours together,” she said. While Mr. O’Connor has assistive technology, Ms. O’Connor created his study guides as well as organized his notes.

Mr. O’Connor, a quadriplegic, was injured in 2012, when he fell down a flight of stairs while working at the packaging industry firm TricorBraun in Southern California. Before in which, he was an athlete, snowboarding as well as playing volleyball at his alma mater, the University of Colorado, Boulder.

As for the surprise, “he got the ball rolling about three months ago,” Ms. O’Connor said, while he was meeting with the university president Daniele Struppa.


Ms. O’Connor attended every class with her son, Marty, at Chapman University, where he recently received his M.B.A.

Chapman University

“How he kept the idea a secret via me, I do not know. Because I help him with his cellphone. the idea was actually a covert operation,” she said.

as well as he was intent on keeping the idea under wraps.

When Sheri Ledbetter, a university spokeswoman, asked to share his story more widely before commencement, he agreed, yet not without a caveat: “Marty’s a actually chill, mellow guy, yet he said, that has a strong tone, ‘Do not ruin the surprise for my mom,’” Ms. Ledbetter said on Wednesday.

In a statement, Mr. Struppa said, “there was no hesitation” when Mr. O’Connor asked his mother to be considered for an honorary degree. “The provost, the dean as well as the faculty senate immediately approved my request. The dedication via both Marty as well as his mother in his pursuit for a master’s in business administration will be nothing short of admirable,” he said.

Mr. O’Connor’s message of perseverance has resonated on Chapman’s campus as well as beyond, Ms. Ledbetter said. When he realized in which he wasn’t going to fully recover physically, “he decided he needed an intellectual challenge, as well as in which’s why he came back for his M.B.A.,” she said.

“He’s been saying over as well as over, ‘Your circumstances are not your sentence.’”

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Surprise for a Mother Who Helped Her Paralyzed Son in Every Class

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