‘This is something I’ll never forget’: 88-year-old man gets special graduation ceremony

Apr 27, 2024, 4:56 PM

88-year-old Palm Beach County attorney, Matthew C. Russell, received a special law school graduatio...

88-year-old Palm Beach County attorney, Matthew C. Russell, received a special law school graduation and doctoral hooding ceremony.

CNN A Palm Beach County, Florida attorney received his very own special law school graduation and doctoral hooding ceremony.

Attorney Matthew C. Russell, 88, has been an educator and civic leader in Riviera Beach for decades.

Russell said he realized in the late 1960s he wanted to become an attorney.

“In Riviera Beach, we were having some problems with trash pickup,” Russell said. “I decided I would go to law school because I felt we needed somebody out here who would be willing to standup and maybe take a stand and fight for us.”

He attended Florida A&M University and because FAMU did not have a law school back then, Russell attended Florida State University law school and graduated in 1972.

Family friend Zedrick Barber said that was historical.

“Mr. Russell’s graduation becomes significant because not only did he go as a FAMU graduate, but he went there, and he graduated early in his course of study from Florida State,” Barber said.

Russell said when his family found out, just a couple of years ago, he never attended the doctoral hooding ceremony, friends, contacted the university.

“My daughter-in-law was so affected by it,” Russell said. “She said to my son, we need to do something about that.”

On Monday morning, Russell’s friends, family and fellow colleagues attended a special graduation ceremony at the Heron Estates Senior Center in Rivera Beach to witness the special event.

The dean of the FSU College of Law, Erin O’Conner, flew to South Florida to make the presentation.

“I am so impressed with that so moved with the dean coming all the way down here,” Russell said. “This is something I’ll never forget.”

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‘This is something I’ll never forget’: 88-year-old man gets special graduation ceremony