On April 28, hundreds of parents and graduates gathered to celebrate the Eastern Michigan University (EMU) college commencement— a proud moment for any family. But the event was a particularly momentous occasion for the McGill family because not one, but three of their family members walked across the graduation stage to triumphantly receive their diplomas at the same time. The graduating trio included father Pat McGill, daughter Regan, and son Ryan.
"We've always been pretty close as a family, so doing something like this, it's — I mean there's not many people that can say they walked with their sibling and their parent," Ryan McGill told Fox 2. "So pretty grateful for that.”
According to Fox 2, Pat finished a degree in construction management, Ryan graduated with an exercise science degree while Regan completed two majors at EMU: psychology and women’s and gender studies.
Ryan was the first to complete his degree requirements in December and was soon followed by Regan in May. Pat, on the other hand, has been working as a police officer with the EMU public safety department for 20 years, and taking classes all the while. When the McGill trio all met their graduation obligations around the same time, they decided to walk the stage in their green graduation garbs together.
When asked before graduation how they will feel on the big day, Ryan said: "We'll laugh, we'll talk. I'm sure we'll cry.”
“It’ll be a crying moment, definitely,” Pat told Fox 2. “I’m proud of both of them.”
Regan said she is especially proud of her dad. “He's accomplished so much. Seeing him over the years, it's so amazing to see him grow as a person,” she said. "This has just been a fun journey with both of them.”
When Regan and Ryan weren’t running into their dad on campus as a student, they occasionally would run into him on-duty as Officer Pat, “busting” friends at parties on campus. But for the most part, the three shared professors, classes and even advice on assignments, including tutorials on Microsoft Power Point. “Okay, how do you do a Power Point?” Pat, 51, told Fox 2, laughing. “We didn’t have that when I was in school.”
While the McGills are grateful to EMU for the education and opportunities, the university was equally happy to have the three graduate with EMU diplomas.
"The graduation this past Sunday of Patrick McGill, a 20-year police officer at Eastern, and his outstanding children, Regan and Ryan, brings us all such pride and happiness,” Eastern Michigan University president James Smith tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It's a great achievement, and is a testament to what a hardworking and loving family the McGills are, and the terrific future all three have in their chosen next steps.”
Smith continues: “Graduation is a special time; a time where Eastern Michigan University glows with the success of our students, and, thus, the McGills are an absolute inspiration to us all."
While Regan plans to go to graduate school or the Air Force, Ryan hopes to become a physician’s assistant. Pat plans to stay at EMU to pursue a Master’s in construction management or a Master’s in civil engineering. He might just stay around long enough to graduate with his other 8-year-old daughter.
“Hey, I’m kind of young!” Pat said, laughing.
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