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Jim Brewer is nearing the end of his battle with pancreatic cancer, but one of his concerns was he wouldn’t live long enough to see his 23-year-old daughter Jenny graduate from his alma mater, Texas A&M University, in May.
But Brewer, 57, didn’t have to wait. That’s because Tuesday, the Aggies brought the ceremony to his Austin, Texas, home, where he got to see his daughter with her cap and gown, amid dozens of friends and family, My Statesman reported.
“One of the last things on my bucket list was to see my daughter graduate, but I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Jim told My Statesman before the 1:30 p.m. ceremony, which took place in front of the family’s home driveway. “Just seeing her get her degree …”
Brewer’s son Nick, 26, came up with the idea. A week prior to the ceremony, he called Daniel Pugh, vice president for student affairs, who is a friend of Nick’s, and asked about the possibility of a home ceremony. Pugh said yes.
“With the experience I’ve had with Texas A&M before and knowing the kind of people they are, I was optimistic,” Nick Brewer told My Statesman. “But to get the response from the people I got it from was pretty cool.”
As Jim Brewer watched Texas A&M Associate Dean John Hurtado stand at a lectern borrowed from Clayton Elementary School, where Brewer’s wife, Lisa, teaches second grade, he sat in a wheelchair and smiled at Jenny while wiping tears from his face. He held his wife’s hand as Nick, and his other son, Mike, 27, stood behind them.
“I think it’s just amazing everyone showed up,” said Jenny, who is slated to receive her bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering on May 12, according to My Statesman. “I just want to thank Texas A&M. The Aggies are awesome.”
The Brewers kept the ceremony a secret from Jim until the day before.
“This is beyond my expectations,” Jim Brewer said.