Judy O’Connor has been awarded an honorary degree by a Southern California university after attending each class with her quadriplegic son, Marty, as he studied for his Master of Business Administration degree. The retired elementary school teacher took Marty to the commencement at Chapman University in Orange, Los Angeles on Saturday to receive his degree, never expecting to also be honored.

Marty O’Connor came up with the idea of the honorary degree for his mom

It turns out the idea of O’Connor receiving the honorary MBA actually came from her son.

It was an emotional moment for the graduation announcer when he announced that the administrator, faculty and board of trustees of the university had decided to give O’Connor the honorary degree. As reported by the New York Post, a stunned O’Connor blew a kiss to the audience, who were giving her a standing ovation after the announcement.

Marty O’Connor paralyzed in accident

Marty had reportedly received an undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado in 2010. He then went on to work as a salesman in the packaging industry until, in 2012, he suffered a fall down a flight of stairs.

He was paralyzed from the neck down from the fall, which dramatically changed his life. As a quadriplegic, the next few years were difficult for Marty, both physically and mentally. While going through regular therapy, O’Connor began exploring the MBA programs on offer.

O’Connor enrolls at Chapman University in Orange, Los Angeles

As reported by 10 News, Marty said after he was injured, he had no real direction and was simply dedicating himself to physical therapy on five days of each week. However, he wanted more of a challenge and, with the aid of various grants and scholarships, O’Connor enrolled in the MBA program at Chapman University.

However, being quadriplegic meant he couldn’t use his hands and was unable to write anything down or take notes during class. He tried using voice recognition software with an iPad and laptop, but some things were totally out of the reach of the quadriplegic student. Enter mom, Judy, who was in Florida at the time of her son’s enrollment. Judy then moved to Southern California to help Marty with his MBA. She attended all his classes, taking notes and writing down the answers to tests.

Judy O’Connor reportedly said before the ceremony that she had enjoyed every minute of attending university with Marty. She said she is a geek and loves being in school.