Magazine Feature / People

Technology helps soldier experience wife’s graduation

They were married on Thanksgiving. He shipped out to Iraq in February.

But they were united in the virtual world as she walked across the stage of Magness Arena June 9 to receive her diploma from the University of Denver.

“We knew when he deployed that we would be apart for some special occasions,” said Becky Keeley, who graduated this spring from DU with a Bachelor of Science degree in animal technology. “But thanks to DU, he could be there in spirit.”

DU began video streaming Commencementceremonies last summer on a test-basis and this spring streamed the Sturm College of Law, undergraduate and graduate ceremonies.

Unfortunately, Keeley’s husband, Matt, didn’t get to see much of the DU Commencement due to a bandwidth limitation where he was stationed in Iraq.

But thanks to DU posting the Commencement video online and a local television airing a broadcast of her Commencement experience, their virtual reunion is just a click away. Keeley plans to e-mail her husband the newscast and DU video, bandwidth permitting.

Bandwidth wasn’t a problem, however, for her Virginia family, who couldn’t travel to Denver for the ceremony. They staged a Commencement party and watched her graduate online. Other family members were there in person to share her joy, including Matt’s two brothers.

They watched as she described to a Channel 7 reporter the relief she felt receiving her diploma after seven years of school, the love she felt for and from her friends and family and the pride she felt for her husband and herself.

“He had a job to do and I had a job to do,” said Becky. “I know he’s proud of me right now and I’m proud of both of us.”

Keeley was one of more than 1,000 undergraduate students who earned degrees from DU this spring. Commencement ceremonies June 9 featured remarks from Chancellor Robert Coombe and DU alumnus Tom Marsico (MBA ’79).

Marsico, founder and CEO of Marsico Capital Management, exhorted graduates to be flexible and take risks. He told a personal story of how he strove to become a doctor but was not accepted into medical school. He instead found a love for finance, earned an MBA from DU and went on to build a $90 billion asset management firm.

In 2002, he and his wife, Cydney, funded the $10 million Marsico Initiative to create an unparalleled undergraduate experience at DU by enhancing academic intensity in the sciences and arts. Many of this spring’s graduates have been beneficiaries of the programs begun under the initiative.

At the ceremony, Chancellor Coombe thanked Marsico for his commitment to DU and presented him with an honorary doctorate in higher education. He expressed pride in the graduates and encouraged them to make a difference in the world.

“All of us, those of you graduating today and those of us who continue to make our lives at the University, have spent these past few years working together in the fervent hope that your lives, lived with purpose and integrity, can have a profound and positive impact on the world,” Coombe said.

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