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
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…