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Ruby Robinson and father
Photo by Eileen Barroso

Ruby Robinson, a Columbia Engineering senior from Denver, Colorado, got a surprise at her school’s Class Day graduation ceremony in May. Her father, Army Reserve Captain Keith Robinson, who is serving in Afghanistan and wasn’t expected to be able to attend, was waiting to embrace her, just offstage, after she shook hands with President Lee C. Bollinger and engineering dean Mary C. Boyce. Captain Robinson had been granted last-minute leave and arrived shortly before the ceremony.

“Congratulations, young lady,” said Captain Robinson, a twenty-five-year veteran of the Army, kissing his daughter on the forehead in front of hundreds of cheering engineering classmates and their families and friends on the South Lawn.

“After I saw him, I couldn’t stop crying,” the twenty-two-year-old computer-science major said later. “I was relieved that he was OK and happy that he could be there. It was an amazing rush of emotions.”