Office of University Communications & Marketing

Enlisted Son Surprises University of North Alabama Grad With Diploma
May. 14, 2014



By Bryan Rachal, Public Affairs and Media Relations

Enlisted Son Surprises University of North Alabama Grad With DiplomaFLORENCE, Ala. – Kimberly Bowser of Sheffield, Ala., was already on top of the world this past Saturday.  She was set to receive a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of North Alabama and while two of her three children couldn’t attend the event, her daughter was there and the day was still going to be a triumphant culmination of all her hard work.  Bowser’s two sons were unable to attend because both are deployed overseas as members of the United States Navy.  

At least that’s what Bowser thought.  One of Bowser’s sons, FC2 William Welch was deployed in the East China Sea on the USS Lake Erie for the past two months, until Saturday.  With a surprised Bowser standing on stage Welch presented his mother with her diploma.  “At first I thought the gentleman was going to mention something about me being the recipient of the Dr. Jack Sellers Award for Outstanding Service to the Social Work Profession, hence the reason I turned around. By doing so I did not even see Will come up to the end of the stage,” said Bowser. 

Welch who is stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, had not seen his mother in two years before Saturday’s ceremony.  Many in the audience were seen crying as the two embraced in an amazing display of emotion. Bowser said her journey through college was filled with heartbreak and devastation due to the passing of her father and a divorce. “It was so important for me to have my children and my family there for this special occasion. My tears flowed uncontrollably basically due to the culmination of everything past and present.”  

Bowser said she was extremely happy and excited to have completed her Bachelor of Social Work at UNA.  She said she’s made lifelong friends and is fully prepared to finally pursue her desire to advocate and serve children and families in the community. In addition, Bowser will be pursuing her Masters of Social Work at the University of Alabama in Spring 2015. “Maybe I can get all three children to attend that graduation.” 

UNA President William G. Cale remarked that this was the first time he’s experienced something like this at a graduation and he’s handed out more than 10,000 diplomas during his time as president. 

Links to pictures of the event are below: 

http://www.unalionsden.com/archive/gallery.php?album_id=931&photo_id=12266

 

http://www.unalionsden.com/archive/gallery.php?album_id=931&photo_id=12268

 

http://www.unalionsden.com/archive/gallery.php?album_id=931&photo_id=12267