A Graduate’s Story of Triumph
The road to graduation is different for each student. As a leader in adult learning, Bellevue University is proud to work with students to complete their education while handling the obstacles life can offer. We are pleased that a 2009 Graduate shared her incredible story with us.
Meet Cora Christensen
Last summer, doctors gave Cora Christensen a 30 percent chance of survival. At the spring 2009 Commencement Ceremony, she walked across the stage after earning her Master of Science in Human Services.
"I finally made it," she said.
But it wasn’t easy. Christensen has battled serious heart ailments for more than 20 years. Her condition came to a head last summer when she suffered cardiac heart failure and underwent three heart surgeries at University of Nebraska Medical Center. Doctors recommended a heart transplant and gave her a 30 percent chance of survival.
All this time, Christensen was one course away from earning her master’s degree. She started and stopped the course multiple times during the past three years, always becoming too sick to finish. She credits her professor, Dr. Jon Kayne, and the Director of Graduate Programs for the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Carole Patrick, for being patient and helping her finish the program.
"I don’t know of any other university anywhere on the planet that would have been as helpful," said Christensen, who earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bellevue University in 2004. "Dr. Patrick and Dr. Kayne, their support was absolutely phenomenal."
Christensen celebrated commencement with her parents and her children, including daughter Katie, a former Bellevue University employee. To say Christensen’s family is excited about her achievement would be an understatement.
“My mom and dad are telling everybody in the world,” she said.
But Christensen isn’t done with Bellevue University. This summer she’ll join the College of Arts and Sciences as an adjunct instructor, a position she also holds at Metro Community College. She hopes her story inspires her students – and anyone else who will listen – to finish school, no matter what the obstacles.
“I have my scars but I don’t care,” Christensen said. “I made it.”
Congratulations, to Cora Christensen and all the 2009 Graduates. Bellevue University is proud of our students, and our flexibility to work with them to achieve their educational goals.
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