BUFFALO, NY - Some very special accommodations were made Saturday morning so a Buff State senior, who is abroad serving in the military, could graduate on time.
U.S. Air Force Sergeant Adam Winters, who's from Rochester, was deployed to Southwest Asia three months ago, as he began his final semester at Buff State. Winters is an aerial port specialist, loading cargo and passengers onto military aircraft. The deployment meant Winters would have to take online courses abroad, so he could graduate on time.
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2 On Your Side spoke to Winters earlier this week by Skype.
"I was pretty upset at first hearing that I was going to be gone, knowing that I was graduating in May while I was gone," he said, "but mission comes first."
He had to balance his studies in three courses, with his duties in uniform. At Buff State's 145th commencement sat Katie Peterson with her parents and sister. Katie and Adam are engaged, and have plans to get married next summer. After nearly 900 of Adam's peers walked the stage, this happened:
"We have one more, we have one more graduate to recognize today," said Buff State president Katherine Conway-Turner, "he is deployed in Southwest Asia, we are lucky and delighted that Adam Winters is able to join us through technology."
The college worked with the Air Force, to make sure Adam could graduate via Skype and earn his degree in criminal justice.
"First, I would like to thank President Conway-Turner, as well as, the faculty and staff of Buffalo State," Winters said. "I would also like to thank my family, as well as my wonderful fiancee Kathleen Peterson and her family who is attending the ceremony here today, tomorrow we'll begin a new challenge taking on the world head on."
"I was anxious that all the technology would work, but I was excited, just to get to see his face again, because I haven't had the chance to talk to him the past few days," Peterson said.
Adam is scheduled to return home in August. He has plans to continue to serve his country as an officer in the Air Force.