Receiving a diploma, with a little help from family

Margaret Peterson poses at graduation with her 12-year-old son, Mark.
Margaret Peterson poses at graduation with her 12-year-old son, Mark.

Last week, Margaret Peterson graduated from La Salle University with a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, to add to her doctorate in theology and ethics.

Due to complications with her husband Dwight’s health, it took the Eastern University professor four years to complete her studies. Dwight, a paraplegic since age 18, who also taught at Eastern, was not expected to live to see his wife graduate. So you can imagine the post-commencement celebration that took place after he watched his wife’s latest achievement via video conference.

We spoke with Peterson hours after her graduation and learned about her years of teaching with Dwight at Eastern and what it took for her to reach this goal.

“It feels a little unreal,” she says. “My husband is really glad to have seen me finish. It feels like a joint project that we got through.” Peterson adds that her husband and 12-year-old son, Mark, took on a “let’s get mom through grad school” mentality that certainly kept her motivated.

But it was hard for anyone to imagine Dwight living to see this day. “He’s been in [hospice care] for 10 months,” says Peterson, citing complications from paraplegia as the cause.

“It’s been difficult. I’ve been teaching. Then I was on sabbatical for an internship, doing the nursing at home, and trying to keep our son on an even keel. There’s been a great deal of help from school and  church. It’s been a lot, and I’m extremely relieved to be done.” Peterson hopes to put her new degree to use by helping families who are dealing with illness and disability. “That’s always been an interest of mine, even before my husband was very ill,” she says. “It’s been a big reality in my life.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

School zones across city to get speed cameras

New Yorkers who speed through a school zone may be more likely to get a ticket in the coming weeks, whether or not a uniformed…

Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, Sep. 3: 'Houdini,' 'Colbert'…

Watch "Homeland" star Mandy Patinkin on "The Colbert Report."

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

Gossip

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth apparently love each…

Miley Cyrus may have broken off her engagement to Liam Hemsworth almost a year ago, but that doesn't mean she doesn't still have feelings for…

The Word

The Word: Charlize Theron isn't perfect, so stop…

We've been thinking a lot about famous women's bodies this week, obviously, so here's some food for thought to go with all that virtual ogling.…

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Style

5 minutes with..Rebecca Minkoff

Rebecca Minkoff on her Spring '15 show.