Lynn University student surprised at commencement by Marine sister

Logan Boutwell says she had been planning the surprise for over a year.
Lynn University student surprised at commencement by Marine sister

Published May. 20, 2014

More than 500 students graduated from Lynn University last weekend (May 16 and 17),Marine surprise and one got the surprise of a lifetime. As Meaghan Boutwell crossed the stage at Saturday’s day undergraduate commencement ceremony to receive her diploma, she saw her sister, Marine Corporal Logan Boutwell, from the opposite side of the stage walking toward her. The sisters haven’t seen each other in more than a year. “I was told she wasn't going to be able to make it, that she couldn't take leave. So I thought she was going to be watching online instead of actually being here today,” said Meaghan through tears of joy.

Corporal Boutwell is stationed in San Diego, California, and just returned from a humanitarian deployment. The Boutwell family says they planned the surprise more than a year ago.

“I’m glad that it’s finally over with and I finally got to see her,“ said Logan. “I've been hiding out for a week and a half, so this is awesome.”

Both sisters say they plan to spend time with each other before Logan is deployed again.

Other highlights from this year’s commencement ceremonies:

  • The commencement speaker for both ceremonies was David Flink, who was also the keynote speaker during January’s Transitions conference.
  • An honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, was given to Elaine Johnson Wold, a loyal friend to Lynn University and lead donor of the construction of the Keith C. and Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center, which was also the site of the 2012 presidential debate.
  • The evening undergraduate/graduate ceremony’s student speaker was Timea Varga, Lynn University academic web coordinator and adjunct professor who received her MBA in international business.
  • The day undergraduate ceremony’s speaker was Maria Isabel (Bel) Zelaya, who graduated Lynn with a major in international business and a minor in special education. Zelaya says she plans to continue her education by pursuing a master’s degree in special education.