Buffalo State graduate gets diploma while serving abroad

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Almost 2,000 people crossed the stage at Buffalo State College. One of the graduates wasn’t able to be there because he was serving overseas but he was able to experience the moment.

Sgt. Adam Winters is a 2017 graduate of Buffalo State. He now has a degree in criminal justice, but unlike the traditional student, Adam won’t have to start applying for jobs. That’s because he’s already got one, working for the US military.

Currently, he is deployed and working in South East Asia. Being away from his family has been tough, but missing his graduation was not up for debate. He along with his fiancé Katie, worked to make that a possibility.

Katie Peterson told News 4, “When this deployment was first talked about, it was a huge disappointment to him that he was going to miss this ceremony, because graduating for college for any individual is a huge accomplishment but for him it’s something he worked very hard towards.”

He was able to be there via Skype. His fiancé, along with her family, were able to be part of the crowd during the ceremony too. They got to capture the experience through pictures and live in the moment in hopes of sharing it with him in the future.

She said, “I was anxious hoping all the technology would work but I was also excited to get to see his face again, because I haven’t been able to see him the past few days.”

He addressed his graduating class with a heartfelt message not only wishing them well, but also thanking his future wife.

Peterson said, “He credits me with a lot more then he probably should, so because he’s worked very hard for this. And as much as I’ve encouraged him to do that, he has worked very hard for this.”

It was the first time in Buffalo State’s history that something like this was able to happen. President of the college, Katherine Conway-Turner says this opens up so many doors and possibilities for the future.

Turner explained, “Now that we have the technology and we can do it there will probably be other occasions. Each one will be unique but I’m sure but I can imagine other occasions where we would have other people skyped in or brought in electronically to be brought in for commencement or another occasion on campus as well.”

Sgt. Adam Winters returns home from deployment at the end of August. He will then help his fiancé plan the rest of their wedding and get ready to exchange vows.

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