New England College of Business student able to share graduation with terminally ill mother thanks to special ceremony
The support of a college can make or break your educational experience. For Laura Hutter, it helped reignite her educational journey.
Hutter first enrolled in New England College of Business when she received a $1,500 grant from being a finalist in a New England College of Business Facebook contest. With the initial grant and help from her employer, New England College of Business corporate partner North Shore Bank, she started her associate's in business administration. Even though Hutter felt a little old to be in college, she found unwavering support from her family, her mom in particular.
But in 2012 — only months before graduation — Hutter learned that her mother had cancer and would not live to see her walk in the graduation ceremony.
Wanting those pictures of her mom grinning by her side as she stood in a cap and gown, Hutter asked her class adviser if she could have her graduation attire just a little bit earlier. New England College of Business Dean of Undergraduates Roger Pao had a different idea. Instead of giving Hutter her cap and gown early, the school held a private graduation so that Hutter's mother could see her earn her degree.
On Nov. 14, 2012, Hutter's birthday, she graduated with honors, her mother seated front row, in a small ceremony held in Peabody, Massachusetts. A group of professors as well as the dean and the provost of New England College of Business attended, and Hutter got plenty of pictures. Two weeks later, Hutter's mother passed away.
Hutter said the support from professors and staff at the college was invaluable.
“Without them my mom wouldn't have seen me graduate.”
The support from New England College of Business has continued since then. Hutter is currently pursuing her Master of Human Resource Management at New England College of Business, and her son and husband continue to encourage her along her educational journey.
“You are never too old to learn,” Hutter says. She credits this belief to her professor and mentor Patrick Hutchinson, and to her mother who encouraged her every step of the way.