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Car breakdown doesn’t detour graduation, thanks to Faulkner

One recent Faulkner grad student did not have the graduation day that he expected.

Jay Tunstill, who was set to receive his MBA, left his Tennessee home with his family  around 3 a.m. last Friday for his graduation ceremony at Faulkner University.

He planned to arrive in time for the ceremony which was scheduled for 8 a.m.

Unfortunately, on the way to Montgomery, the family’s car broke down, forcing Jay and his family to miss the ceremony.

Enter MBA Program Director of Faulkner Will Cooper.

Cooper contacted Faulkner President Mitchell Henry to set up a private graduation ceremony on that same day for Tunstill.

Cooper told Yellowhammer News that he, like Tunstill and other students, shared similar challenges in obtaining their MBA.

“The student (Jay Tunstill) called me at 7 that morning to let me know he and his family had broken down on the way to Montgomery from Tennessee,” Tunstill said. “He told me it looked like they wouldn’t make it to his scheduled ceremony that morning.

“I know first-hand the challenges of earning an MBA while balancing family, work, and other obligations so it was important to me that his accomplishment be celebrated.”

Cooper also said he was passing it forward from how he was treated as a Faulkner student.

“When I was an undergraduate student at Faulkner, I benefited from faculty and staff that lived out the university’s mission of creating … a caring, Christian environment where every individual matters every day myself,” he said. “It was my pleasure to jump into action and ensure that Jay was properly recognized for his efforts.”

Cooper also said Tunstill kept him updated on his progress on the road to Faulkner.

“After getting the car part he needed, making the repair himself, and getting back on the road, he was scheduled to arrive around 5 p.m. … after the conclusion of our final commencement ceremony,” Cooper said. “Fortunately, Jay arrived in his regalia while the administration, faculty, staff, and graduates were still milling about.”

Cooper gave credit to Henry for conducting the private ceremony.

“President Henry was gracious enough to return to the stage one more time to award Jay his degree in a private ceremony,” he said.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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