Florida A&M University is also set to graduate a big class Saturday morning with keynote speaker Ted Turner, but for one family and their friends. It will be a day of mixed emotions.
Saturday, the mother of a FAMU student who suddenly passed away will accept her son's diploma. As the names are called one by one and graduates of FAMU's allied health sciences step to the stage to receive their pin there is one name missing.
“He said he couldn't breathe, apparently it was a blood clot he had a heart attack and passed away,” says mom Shirley.
Joseph Young, Jr. died October 15, 2003 at the age of 23. The Marianna native would have received his Bachelor of Science degree in cardiopulmonary science Saturday.
Friday he would have been pinned.
Mrs. Young said she had to be there not only for Joseph, but for his friends.
Shakelia Epps, a classmate, says, “He was very comedic. How would I put it? He was a comedian.”
“For the better part of 10 years we've done everything together. I wish he was here,” says best friends Shannon McClendon.
Joseph's mom says he still is here in spirit. Mrs. Young will also accept Joseph's diploma during FAMU's graduation Saturday morning.
Family members from across the state will attend the ceremony.