|The magazine of University of Houston-Clear Lake
fall 2012 | volume 19 | number 1
Accepting a Memory: 7-year old Accepts Uncle’s Posthumous Degree
When Master of Counseling graduate student John Lawrence died unexpectedly during spring break, his seven-year old nephew Ryan Rouineb told family members that he wanted to speak at the funeral. Rouineb’s mother Jackie, who is Lawrence’s sister, was apprehensive at first about her son’s request but relented because he was so adamant about speaking.
“Ryan got up there and spoke from the heart,” says Jackie Rouineb. When a university member contacted the family after the funeral and suggested that the younger Rouineb accept his uncle’s degree, she thought it was a perfect way to honor Lawrence. During the May 2012 afternoon commencement ceremony, Ryan Rouineb crossed the stage to receive his uncle’s diploma, shaking hands with School of Education Dean Dennis Spuck.
“The university made Ryan feel so special that day. They gave Ryan a rose with John’s tassel attached to it, so one day when Ryan and John’s other nephews graduate college, they can wear their uncle’s tassel,” says J. Rouineb.
She described Lawrence as a big kid himself, who had a love of reading history and of showing his three nephews magic tricks.
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