Incredibly, his mom earned a degree, too, for attending every class with Marty, Fox 2 Now reports.
"Mrs. Judith O'Connor has attended all the classes with her son, Marty,” the announcer said of Judy's honorary degree during the graduation ceremony. "She has taken notes and worked with Marty throughout his academic career."
But Judy did far more than just take notes — she helped fill out exams for Marty and provided immeasurable support during his time at Chapman. Of course, Marty did plenty on his own, employing voice recognition software and more to assist him with other tasks.
“I didn't know how going back to school without being able to write, or use my hands, or raise my hand in class ... would go," Marty said to the Chapman University Blog. "But I think it really kind of challenged me to do some introspection and see what strengths I do have to utilize, and how I can use my situation to work on some new strengths."
After his accident, Marty committed to physical therapy five days a week but eventually felt passionate about doing more.
He won a $10,000 yearly scholarship through the Swim with Mike foundation, which is dedicated to helping disabled athletes realize their dreams.
His mom, a former elementary school teacher with a degree from Notre Dame, relished the classes she took with Marty, telling the Chapman blog she, "enjoyed every minute." The honorary degree, decided by school administrators, staffers, and board of trustee members, came as a complete surprise.
During the graduation ceremony, Judy blew the crowd a kiss and posed for photos with Marty. This was not one major win, but two.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Flickr user zeevveez