Graduate accepts diplomas for herself and her late husband

By University Communications
December 22, 2016
Mary Rahman, right, crosses the stage to accept a posthumous degree for her late husband, Steve. At left is academic staff representative Linda Young.

Photo: Mary Rahman, right, crosses the stage to accept a
posthumous degree for her late husband, Steve. At left is academic
staff representative Linda Young.

 
Reprinted with permission of Eau Claire Leader-Telegram

By Pamela Powers
Leader-Telegram staff

Mary Rahman didn’t accept just one degree Saturday, Dec. 17, at UW-Stout.

After six years of studying and holding a full-time job as an Allina Health clinic manager in Woodbury, Minn., Rahman, 55, earned her degree in business management.

An exciting time but one she was unable to share with her husband.

In addition to her own diploma, Mary accepted a degree in quality management for Steve Rahman posthumously. He died Feb. 10 in a snowmobile crash 15 miles southwest of Tower in far northeastern Minnesota after missing a curve on the Taconite State Trail and striking a tree.

Mary Rahman holds a picture of her late husband, Steve.He was to graduate in December 2017.

“I think my son, Nathan, and I and my daughter, Laura, are all very humbled UW-Stout would do this,” Mary said, her voice breaking with emotion.

Mary received her diploma first and then returned to the stage to receive Steve’s, as Provost Patrick Guilfoile announced the special honor.

Renee Surdick, UW-Stout’s program director for the Bachelor of Science degree in management, said Steve had to have completed significant course work to receive the posthumous degree. It also had to be approved by Guilfoile and Chancellor Bob Meyer.

“It is very unusual,” Surdick said of the university to award a posthumous degree.

Both Mary and Steve attended UW-Stout through online classes and had a few classes together. He was a systems engineer and project manager with Cannon Equipment in Cannon Falls, Minn.

Nathan Rahman graduated from UW-Stout in December 2015 with a degree in packaging engineering. He now works at Harley-Davidson in Milwaukee. Laura Rahman is working at U.S. Bank in the Twin Cities.

Mary Rahman is greeted by Chancellor Bob Meyer after receiving her husband's degree.

Mary said she first learned about the online degree program when she visited UW-Stout with her son and decided to transfer from St. Catherine University in the Twin Cities, where she was attending classes.

“I found school interesting,” she said. “It was hard. I would have a full day at work and then work on classes. With online classes you could balance your work out more. If you were busy during the week you could get more of your class work done on weekends.”

Nathan is proud of his mother for graduating. “It think it’s great she has been so determined and been chugging along to get her degree,” he said.

He also is pleased his mother will receive his father’s degree after his death.

Married for 30 years, the Rahmans in December 2015 moved into a new house in Hastings, Minn., that they had built as their retirement home, Mary said. Her husband worked at Cannon Equipment all the years they were married.

“I feel like his co-workers were about like our family,” Mary said.

Mary Rahman is greeted by Chancellor Bob Meyer after receiving her husband's degree.

Her husband loved his family and loved to be around people, she said. “He loved to be outside,” she said. “He was a hunter.”

Every year he went on a snowmobile trip with friends and family and had told her the February trip would be his last because he wanted to get into ATV riding, Mary said.

Now that she is graduating, Mary, who went back to school to accomplish a personal goal of getting a bachelor’s degree, hopes to spend more time volunteering.

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Photos


Second Photo: Mary Rahman holds a picture of her late husband, Steve. Leader-Telegram photo by Pamela Powers

Third and fourth Photos: Mary Rahman is greeted by Chancellor Bob Meyer after receiving her husband's degree.