California mom who went to every class with quadriplegic son surprised with honorary MBA
Judy O'Connor quit her own job to dedicate herself to helping her son get through graduate school.
ORANGE, Calif. (WDRB) -- A California mother of a quadriplegic graduate student spent the last few years going to every class at Chapman University with her son. She when graduation day arrived, the faculty, administration and board of trustees decided to surprise her with an honorary degree.
Judy O'Connor wheeled her 29-year-old son Marty across the stage to accept his master of business administration degree. Then the announcer choked up, as Judy was recognized for her dedication to her son, who had suggested honoring his mother with the honorary degree.
KTLA reports that Marty O'Connor was paralyzed in a fall down a set of stairs in 2010. While he was attending physical therapy five times per week, he set a goal of completing graduate school. Marty was awarded a $10,000 annual scholarship through the Swim With Mike organization, which was founded by USC All-American swimmer Mike Nyeholt. He was paralyzed in a 1981 motorcycle crash.
Once Marty enrolled in Chapman University, his mother decided to leave her teaching job in Florida and move to Southern California to help him get through his classes. She took notes, helped her son take tests and helped him navigate campus in a wheelchair. She says, "I always believed in him. I knew he could do it, and I just wanted to have his back."
Judy told a blogger for Chapman University that she loved the experience. “I’m a geek. I love being in school,” she said. “I’m not going to lie. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
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