Richard Perry was scheduled to graduate with his MA in Theology on Saturday, May 13, at Franciscan University when an infection in his leg landed him in the hospital on May 12.

Requiring surgery, Perry would not be able to leave in order to make it to his commencement ceremony with his fellow classmates.

But that didn’t stop commencement from coming to him.

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According to a Facebook post from the University:

After a successful surgery, Richard received the surprise of his life when graduate theology professor Dr. Stephen Hildebrand and a few classmates showed up at his hospital bed and held a special commencement ceremony.

“It just reflects on the community that we’ve built at Franciscan,” Richard says.

Richard sacrificed a lot to come to Franciscan, even leaving behind a job as a corporate recruiter to come study on campus. Even though he was born Catholic, he wasn’t raised in the faith. It wasn’t until he started attending services at a protestant church that he found his way to Catholicism and ultimately Franciscan.

Richard reports he’s doing well, although still recovering from his surgery. In July, he’ll travel to Belgium to begin work on his PhD.

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