San Diego's smallest graduation ceremony turned into one of the most memorable Tuesday when National University invited Francis Oladipo into the school president's office for a private ceremony.
The university played "Pomp and Circumstance" and opened the door to Oladipo, who was dressed in a traditional cap and gown, for the non-traditional commencement.
The U.S. Sailor got stuck aboard USS Anchorage Saturday due to an extended training exercise and foggy weather.
The ship's scheduled return was pushed from Friday morning to Saturday afternoon, forcing Oladipo to miss his big ceremony inside Petco Park, where more than 20,000 people gathered to honor the latest graduates of National University.
Oladipo said he was so sad, he just kept to himself upon learning the news out at sea, especially because his parents had flown in all the way from Nigeria to see him receive his master's degree in public health.
The USS Anchorage's commanding officer and National University's administration worked together at the last minute to pull together a private ceremony Tuesday.
Oladipo's family, including his wife, his son and his parents, joined several of his Navy shipmates and National University's brass for the small event.
"I think I have the best graduation," said Oladipo.
After Oladipo flipped his tassel on his graduation cap, signifying that he graduated, he stopped to say a few words to all that came out to make the special day happen.
"To my wife, I will say thank you for the support, thank you for all that you've done whenIi had assignments done and I had to abandon everything around, it's awesome. Thank you for being there," he said, smiling at her.
"To my dad and my mom, I will say thank you, and thank you again," Oladipo added.