FARMVILLE, Va. (WRIC) -
Thanks to the compassion of the faculty at Longwood University, a dying father saw his last wish come true.
Brittany Inge, of Crewe, is a senior majoring in elementary and middle school education at Longwood University in Farmville. She was scheduled to graduate with her class on Saturday, May 10.
Brittany’s father, Bob Inge, is battling stage-four lung cancer and spent the last week in the hospital. Doctors told the Inge family that time was quickly running out, and Bob feared he wouldn’t witness his final wish: to watch his daughter graduate from college.
"This is one of those things, as a father, you want to see from birth," he said. "They told me the time was short and hopefully, I would be able to make it."
Then, Brittany received a phone call from the university and an email from Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Ken Perkins that would change her and her father’s lives.
Perkins wrote in an email, “I understand your dad is not well at all. A little bird, so to speak, suggested that I consider a small, private ceremony in your home, very soon so that we can award you a symbolic diploma. I am more than willing to come to your dad’s home, and bring with me the dean and registrar, dressed in our regalia and present this to you in front of your family.”
"They wanted to offer me a special ceremony in order to let my dad see me graduate," Brittany said.
"I had no idea Longwood would go out of their way," Bob said. "It takes special people and special organizations to make this happen."
"Everybody was dressed up just as if it was the normal graduation, except there was a lot less people," Brittany said.
As she received her diploma, her father had one thought:
"I made it," he said. "I didn't have to go as long as I thought I was going to have to go."
Brittany and her family say they owe everything to Longwood, for making a special occasion even more remarkable.
“We would like to thank Longwood for all their support that went far beyond our expectations. It was truly amazing to have this opportunity,” she says. “I could not ask for anything more. I’m forever grateful to all the Longwood staff who made today so special and I’m proud to be a Lancer.”
Bob added, "I would hope that other organizations and other universities would take heart in this."
Brittany now has her degree in elementary and middle school education. She's job hunting and hopes her father is around to see her become a teacher.
"The fact that they made this miracle come true is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Brittany said.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond ______________________________________________