KATU: PSU grads: One graduates alongside grandfather, another makes history
Author: KATU Staff
Posted: June 14, 2018

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Two Portland State University graduates have a lot to celebrate this week.

One is the first blind student to graduate from PSU's school of business accounting, and the other graduated alongside her grandfather.

Sam Biyazin moved to the US from Ethiopia to study. She said her message to others is to "just try!"

"When I started accounting, I thought it was impossible for a blind person to do it. But then I was like, since I like it, I’m going to try it anyway!" she said.

Bailey Pederson graduated alongside her grandfather, 74-year-old Jack Whitmore. Whitmore attended PSU back in 1964 but never earned a degree and while Bailey was finishing her Master's, her grandfather made a joke.

"I just said something like, after maybe an extra glass of wine, 'Wouldn’t it be funny to go back and see how many hours I need to graduate and we could graduate together?'' Whitmore said.

"It kinda started as a joke but then I started to think, what if I actually followed up with this?" Bailey said.

Bailey got an adviser to help her. They dug up Whitmore's transcripts and it turned out he only needed 2 to graduate. He took a class and the pair are set to get their diplomas Sunday.