Mora ’19 receives special surprise at Commencement
At Doane’s Commencement ceremonies, each graduate hears their name called, walks across the stage, and receives their diploma from Dr. Jacque Carter, president of Doane University. This is a traditional part of Commencement, not just at Doane, but at institutions across the country.
But on Saturday, during Doane’s College of Arts and Sciences Commencement ceremony, when Andres Mora ’19 heard his name called, he looked across the stage to see a big surprise.
Mora, originally from Venezuela, had his father and brother in town to celebrate his achievement. Andres’ father, Vinicio Mora, is a professor at a university in Venezuela, and wanted to surprise Andres by handing him his diploma himself.
In Venezuela, it is tradition for the parent to hand their child their diploma when graduating if the parent is a professor, Vinicio says. He thought it would be special if him and Andres could share that moment, but knew the administration at Doane would have to approve of this first. After first reaching out to Jake Hoy-Elswick, Director of International Programs, who then contacted Paul Savory, Provost and Executive Vice President, Vinicio received the green light for the surprise.
Andres knew his dad would be at the ceremony, but when he saw him dressed in academic regalia worn by Deans and faculty members, he was taken aback.
“I was very surprised, to say the least,” Andres said.
“It was very exciting to be able to do that,” Vinicio said. “It was a great moment. But it’s also bittersweet, because our whole family isn’t together.”
Andres’ mother is in their hometown of Caracas, Venezuela, where there has been a great deal of unrest throughout the country. As of Wednesday, May 15, the U.S. suspended all flights to Venezuela for safety and security reasons.
“If you go to protest against the government in Venezuela, you’re risking your life,” Vinicio said. “One student I taught died during a protest. He was hit with a tear bomb. It has been extremely hard for us.”
For a number of reasons Andres hopes to remain in the United States for at least another year, but his plans are uncertain at this time.
A biochemistry major at Doane, Andres was able to conduct nanotechnology-related research in Germany with Dr. Andrea Holmes and other Doane students last summer. He is considering pursuing a Doctorate degree at the University of Alabama or pursuing a Master’s in Education at Doane, perhaps being a Graduate Assistant coach on the soccer team as well. Andres played on Doane’s men’s soccer team for two years after transferring from Coffeyville Community College in Kansas.
“I had a great experience at Doane,” Andres said. “It gave me the opportunities to be the person I am today.”