By Barbara Tetreault of the Berlin Daily Sun (5/22/2012)
A special ceremony was held at Friday's White Mountains Community College commencement exercises for a soldier who missed his own graduation ceremony.
WMCC President Katharine Eneguess presented a diploma from the University of Maryland, University College to Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Sorum. Eneguess explained that Sorum, who works as a paralegal for the staff judge advocate out of Joint Forces Headquarters in Concord, had pursued a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from the University of Maryland. She said Sorum, who is the first in his family to earn a bachelor's degree, was looking forward to his graduation.
But Sorum, who also works as a Casualty Assistance Officer, was serving a family who had lost their son and chose to remain in New Hampshire and miss his graduation.
Eneguess said she learned of the story in an e-mail from Sorum's wife Kerry. Kerry Sorum, who graduated Friday with her third degree from WMCC, asked if her husband could take her place in the ceremony and pick up her degree. Eneguess rejected the request and instead contacted the University of Maryland, to get legal permission to present Sorum's own diploma to him. Eneguess and Kerry Sorum tried to keep the plan a surprise but had to tell Sgt. Sorum when he was scheduled for duty.
Sorum received a standing ovation from the audience when Eneguess called him to the stage and formally presented the diploma.