More than 1,000 University of Kentucky graduates crossed the stage on Friday at Rupp Arena for the December commencement ceremony, including a man who was told years ago that he had only 24 hours to live.
Kevin Massey was 16 years old when he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, according to UK. Despite the grim prognosis, he continued forward. He was accepted to UK, became the manager of the men’s basketball team and graduated on Friday with a degree in communication.
“It’s so inspiring what he’s been able to accomplish at this point in his life, with all the things that were thrown at him,” Coach John Calipari said in a news release.
The UK players and coaches Massey has worked with in his role as team manager have become like a second family, he told UK.
“Graduating is just another step in life,” he said. “I got bigger plans — I don’t just want to graduate and stop there. I got bigger plans and bigger goals and more people to help.”
Massey wasn’t the only graduating Wildcat with basketball ties. Current Chicago WNBA player and former UK star Makayla Epps earned a degree in social work.
UK women’s basketball Coach Matthew Mitchell was on hand to see her big day, tweeting that he was “so proud” to watch her walk across the stage.