Graduation At Tulsa's Oral Roberts University, A Family Affair
TULSA, Oklahoma - Graduation weekend has families from all over in Tulsa to support their students. This comes as Oral Roberts University celebrates its 50th anniversary of its first graduating class.
One family has a meaningful tie to the school's history.
On Saturday, the Mabee Center will be filled as 750 ORU students walk across the graduation stage, but there's one student who has a special family tie to the original graduating class.
"And right here at the Hammer Center this was the gymnasium at that point," said Cory Nickerson.
A walk around campus for this grandfather and grandson.
"He probably kicked some scuff marks of mine off of the sidewalk, who knows," Nickerson said.
It is a walk around a place that has shaped what the family has become.
"I came to Tulsa and decided never to leave," said Cory Nickerson.
This year, Aaron Thomas is part of the ORU class of 2017 and eyes are already looking to the future.
"Hopefully find a job that I can travel with, but ultimately settle down in Tulsa," said Aaron Thomas.
A similar path that his grandfather Cory Nickerson started more than 50 years ago.
"And I thought 'man, if I ever had to live in a big city this might be it,'" said Cory Nickerson.
For Nickerson, it was a brave new world. Nothing like his home in Kansas.
"I had never been on an airplane," said Nickerson.
And while ORU was a little smaller then.
"There were 300 of us, we thought we were big stuff," said Cory Nickerson.
"Oh, there's a little bit more than that right now," said Aaron Thomas.
It introduced Cory Nickerson to endless possibilities.
"I think ORU was the place that opened my eyes to the world."
Now, as a member of the Alpha class, Nickerson gets to watch his grandson share in a unique experience with him.
"It's surreal, how does this happen?" Cory Nickerson said.
"It's really inspiring to see," said Aaron Thomas.
And while Aaron is poised to start his own path, he'll be carrying traits of his grandfather's journey.
"It's a lot to carry, so I don't necessary think of carrying on his legacy, but making my own new one with what I've learned from him," said Aaron Thomas.
Saturday, Aaron will be walking across the stage with his entire family here to support him and all the other graduates.