President Davies confers degree to injured student in Beaumont Hospital


President Robert Davies and Troy senior Walter Tufts II pose after Davies personally conferred Tufts' bachelor's degree Dec. 6 in Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. (Courtesy Photo | Facebook)

A broken leg may have prevented him from attending the ceremony, but it didn’t keep Troy senior Walter Tufts II’s commencement from being a day to remember.

President Robert Davies made an almost 150-mile trip to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak Dec. 6 to personally deliver Tufts his Bachelor of Science degree in vocal music. Davies stood in the hospital room in full regalia next to Tufts, draped in a maroon gown in a wheelchair.

Tufts, 28, was “disheartened” to learn he wouldn’t be able to walk across the stage to receive the degree after a car struck him while he was walking Nov. 18. He broke his left leg and tore a ligament in his right knee. He was disappointed because he spent seven years working on his bachelor's degree.

But the staff at Beaumont and Central Michigan University worked together to make sure Tufts wasn’t left out.

“Commencement is an important milestone for every student, and I didn’t want Walter to miss the opportunity to celebrate his achievement with his family and friends,” Davies said. “It was an honor and a pleasure to shake his hand today and personally confer his Bachelor of Science degree.” Tufts is the first graduate of the fall 2019 class.

Tufts spent two-and-a-half years at Oakland Community College, four-and-a-half years at CMU, and two years at Mid-Michigan College before coming back to CMU for the last year-and-a-half to finish his degree.

“To know I was so close to graduation when the accident happened really bummed me out,” Tufts said. “But to have CMU and Royal Oak Beaumont do what they did put a lot of joy in my heart.”

Following Tuft’s commencement, his friends and family were treated to CMU-themed cupcakes.

Now that he has his degree, Tufts is focusing on taking his recovery “nice and slow.” When he heals, he plans “to keep singing and playing music as God intends.”