There was hardly a dry eye in the room at Georgia Perimeter College commencement exercises for the Class of 2012 on Friday, May 4, as one very special diploma was awarded.
US Army Spc. Andrea Muresan, 22, was Skyped in from Afghanistan for the occasion. Her brother, Jason Alfaro, accepted the diploma on his sister’s behalf.
Although her family had been advised GPC was going to try and set up the technology to Skype the Lawrenceville soldier in from her base in Afghanistan, they were warned it might not work.
“There are no guarantees with Skype,” said Susan Gast, GPC Associate Director for Publications. “They knew we were going to try, and we had tested it ahead of time, but you never know if it’s going to work.”
But work it did, and those who took the trouble to set it up were rewarded with the look of joy on the faces of the young soldier's parents, Sarika and Ioan Muresan, when their daughter was successfully Skyped in. A deafening cheer arose when the television screen on Georgia Perimeter's Clarkston campus was turned around to reveal Muresan, wearing her graduation attire, from the other side of the globe.
Muresan’s story was reported earlier in the year in On Common Ground News after she learned she would likely not be able to complete her Associate's Degree in criminal justice. Her orders had been changed and she was deployed before Christmas - two classes short of the number necessary to graduate.
“I was so worried and had no idea what I would do,” she is reported to have told John Siler, her criminal justice professor at GPC. Siler found her an answer. Muresan’s case was handled by the Military Outreach Center at GPC and Muresan was able to complete her degree online from Afghanistan.
GPC is reported to have one of the largest populations of veterans in the University System of Georgia, serving some 800 veterans each year. The CPC Military Outreach Center was established specifically to help military members and their families and Muresan's case fitted right in with its mission.
Muresan also had expressed disappointment for herself and her family, all Romanian immigrants, about not being able to walk in her commencement exercises. But as it turned out, she was able to graduate with her class after all. A cap and gown was shipped to Muresan in advance and only after she was skyped in did all the students, Musesan included, flip the tassle on their caps to complete the exercises.
Once her active duty is complete, Muresan plans to return to her studies and get a four-year degree. She hopes to become a U.S. Marshal and one day work for the FBI.