Monday, December 25, 2000

School grants degree to deceased student

The Associated Press

        BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — Bowling Green State University has granted a posthumous degree to a student who suddenly died earlier this month.

        Rhonda Lynn Maddox's diploma was given last week to her sorority sisters of Sigma Lambda Gamma, who said they intend to present it to her family. Bowling Green's commencement ceremonies were held Saturday.

        “It made me cry when I heard she was going to get one,” said Lena Quintero, one of Ms. Maddox's sorority sisters. “This was her senior year. This was her year to shine, and we all knew she was going to get it.”

        Ms. Maddox, 21, an education major, died Dec. 11 of an embolism, which is an obstruction of a blood vessel. She was one semester away from completing the requirements for a bachelor's degree, school officials said.

        To receive a posthumous de gree, a Bowling Green student must be close to meeting graduation requirements, enrolled in classes at the time of death, and be recommended by the dean of the college.

        A diploma would have meant the world to Ms. Maddox, who overcame hardships throughout her life, said Barbara Hough, who raised Ms. Maddox from the time she was 8.

        Ms. Maddox went to live with Ms. Hough after her mother, Rhoda Maddox, was convicted of setting a Perrysburg Township house on fire.

        More than a year ago, Ms. Maddox lost her brother when he took his life, Ms. Hough said.

        “She was a person who had been through a lot in her life, and she was so bright and so determined that she was going to have a good life and contribute to the lives of others,” said Susan Davenport Darrow, associate director of the university honors program.


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