Children accept honorary degree for deceased dad
HUNTINGTON -- A Marshall University student in the Regents Bachelor of Arts program who died in November was posthumously awarded his degree Friday in a ceremony that included his four young children.
Owen M. Moul, a native of Arizona, died Nov. 23 at his home in Barboursville. He served 12 years in the United State Marine Corps, which included deployment to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He also was a Marine recruiter in the Huntington area from 2004 to 2008 and went on to receive his associate's degree from Mountwest Community and Technical College.
He was remembered during the ceremony as a man with two loves: his children and learning. Chris White, an associate professor of Latin American history at Marshall and director of graduate studies, was a friend and teacher to Moul. White, who also served in the Marines, said he was the best student he's had in his nine years of teaching.
"Even though he hadn't earned all the credits, he was much smarter than most who do earn a degree," White said. "He had every bit of what it takes to become a college professor."
Moul, who carried a 4.0 grade point average, had a strong interest in pursuing further education and was being recruited by folks in Marshall's graduate geography program. Andrew Gooding, director of the RBA program, said Moul only had a few credits left to graduate.
"He was very focused and really loved to learn," Gooding said. "He really wanted to finish his degree."
As part of the ceremony, White handed the degree to his children -- Sydney, 14; Sierra, 8; Owen Jr., 7; and Zane, 1. They were later handed a special military recognition cord and a cord for having a perfect grade point average.
Among those who attended the ceremony were Brian Dillon, a Marine Corps veteran who met Moul about five years ago through a mutual friend. He remembers him as a great friend and great dad. He said Moul would have appreciated the gesture given by Marshall.
"It was important to Marshall University that his children receive this degree in honor of their father," said Kelly Sweetman, director of Military and Veterans Affairs. "It was our mission to make sure they had his diploma."