SAN DIEGO — More than 3,000 National University graduates crossed the stage inside the San Diego Convention Center Sunday. Two of them left the stage with not only a new degree, but a new fiancé.
During the ceremony, Abraham Ibarra got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend, Jaqueline Lagunas.
“I was a little nervous. I was a little shaky, but I knew I had to keep my head up and do it as best as possible,” Ibarra told FOX 5.
The pair from Los Angeles earned their master’s degrees in Applied Behavioral Analysis.
“I hope to change the world helping students and kids with autism spectrum disorders,” Lagunas told FOX 5.
Dr. David Andrews, National University president, said he was in on the surprise proposal. “It was great to be up there to see the joy,” Andrews said.
Another moment of joy came from 79-year-old George Donelson, the oldest graduate to cross the stage. Donelson earned his master’s degree in criminal justice, a university spokesperson said.
Many of the graduates were adult learners ages 25 and older. “What’s special about National is our adult learners,” Andrews said. “They’re so committed and so persistent. Many of them have taken not the straightest route to graduation, so their families are here. It’s such an exciting time for them to complete their degrees as adults.”