Illinois father surprises family by graduating alongside daughter

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MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — A local family is celebrating not one, but two graduations.

“It really was like keeping a secret for Christmas, it was just four and half years,” Mike Loven said.

After four long years, Loven was able to finally get his secret off his chest. He shared how it all began in the first place.

“June 6th, 2016, I woke up in the middle of the night just with a feeling from God that I was going to go back to school and get my degree. And I was going to do it as a surprise to my family,” he said.

It wasn’t something that was in Loven’s plans, but he certainly had a lot of motivation around him.

“In the time that we’ve done this, my son graduated with his degree, my daughter graduated, my wife graduated. She got her CFP, and my son got married. There’s been a lot of life events along the way,” Loven said.

He enrolled in Grand Canyon University, the same school his daughter was attending, making the secret even harder to keep.

“It was not easy to conceal, but it was easy to play off that I was working on a spreadsheet for work and not some random calculation for an accounting class,” he said.

After a family get-together to celebrate his daughter’s graduation, he decided it would be perfect timing for the big reveal.

“So I had my cap and gown there and my diploma so I came out and said, ‘I think this is why I have an alumni t-shirt’ and the confusion was a lot of fun to watch,” Loven said.

Loven graduated with 3.99 GPA and a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics.

“I was shocked when I saw the diploma. It took me a second. I was like, ‘Wait a second, that’s his name. He’s wearing a cap and gown.” And then I just started sobbing, saying how proud I was of him,” Loven’s daughter Taleigh said.

Mike Loven says it was all worth it.

“Incredibly proud. I could not be more proud of him and he knows that,” his daughter said.

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