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Hospitalized grad-to-be can't make Commencement, so it goes to him

2015-12-18 08:30:00.0

Zachary Betscher had his cap and gown ready for Friday’s Commencement, set to accept a bachelor’s in accounting before friends and family.

Then appendicitis struck.

Zach found himself in the hospital. Surgery went well, but he wouldn’t be able to attend the ceremony.

So the ceremony went to him. 

About 9 a.m. Thursday, one of his fraternity brothers, Sterling Greathouse, walked into his room at Akron General. Then came 14 more fraternity brothers. Then his parents. And three officials from UA in full academic regalia, who conducted an abbreviated Commencement ceremony, complete with diploma and a singing of the alma mater.

“Zach was so surprised,” said Ben Nelson, a close friend and member of the fraternity, Phi Delta Theta. “It was really moving to see everyone there.”

Dr. Ravi Krovi, dean of the College of Business Administration, led the proceedings.   

“I’m glad we were able to do it,” Krovi said. “Graduation is a seminal moment in anyone’s life, and we didn’t want Zach to miss out.”

Graduate in the hospital

Zachary Betscher holds his diploma following a mini-graduation ceremony bedside. Zach was hospitalized with appendicitis and unable to attend Friday's Commencement. With him are his parents, and in regalia from left, Willy Kollman, director of alumni relations, who delivered the official welcome on behalf of the Alumni Association; Dr. Ravi Krovi, dean of the College of Business Administration, who led the proceedings; and Lauri Thorpe, associate vice president for enrollment management, who arranged the bedside ceremony.