Tales of the nontraditional
Homeless but graduating. Did not major in home economics. From MLive.
For inspirational homeless EMU student, graduation day
The doors of the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center opened at 7 a.m. Sunday, and by 8, cars were bumper-to-bumper along Hewitt Road trying to squeeze into crowded parking lots. Fathers in suits carried cameras and mothers cradled bouquets.
Two miles away, Ramone Williams walked alone out of an apartment carrying a backpack. Just a few months ago, that backpack had held much of the 26-year-old's possessions – a few changes of clothes, a can of Chunky soup, bags of tea.
Sunday, the backpack held a cap and gown.
Until a few months ago Williams was homeless, a college senior at Eastern Michigan who had enough money for college tuition or a home, but not both. He attended classes by day, and slept in his 2007 Grand Caravan at night. When the weather turned cold, he slept in the EMU library and showered in the student recreational facility.
Sunday, Williams walked across campus for the last time, arriving at the Convocation Center just in time for the graduation ceremony, where he received a bachelor's degree in communication media and theatre arts. It was a long walk on streets that had worn out several pairs of sneakers, part of an even longer journey for a young man too stubborn to quit.
"I sacrificed a lot to get here," Williams said. "It's worth it."