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Columbia student gets surprise at graduation

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A graduating senior at Columbia University got a surprise during a graduation ceremony. The moment brought her to tears.

Columbia Engineering School senior Ruby Robinson finished her course work for her major in computer science.

The joy of achieving her degree became bittersweet as Ruby’s father, US. Army Reserve Captain Keith Robinson, has been deployed for the past six months in northern Afghanistan.  Two weeks ago he told Ruby he was not going to be able to attend her graduation.

A last minute approval for Keith to leave from his unit to fly 14.5 hours from Kuwait to Washington, D.C., followed by a flight to Denver, allowed him make it to New York for his daughter’s big moment.

“Every stop along the way, they were like can you leave in 15 minutes. I said ‘oh yeah I can leave in 15 minutes,” he told Columbia News.

Ruby was one of the students participating in the school Class Day graduation on Tuesday for Commencement week. Keith made it just in time to see his daughter walk across the stage.

As Ruby shook hands with Dean Mary Boyce and President Lee C. Bollinger while receiving her degree, her father was waiting as she got off stage to congratulate her.

She immediately reacted with tears of joy while hugging her father.

“I love you so much,” Keith told the new Columbia University Alumni.

“To have him in the flesh means a lot to me. I didn’t expect it at all. I’m so happy about it. To have your parents at your graduation is a big thing,” said Ruby.

More than 14,000 of Columbia’s undergraduate, graduate and professional students in the Class of 2014 gathered for the University-wide Commencement. Both of Robinson’s parents were present.
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