HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. (AP) — A college valedictorian had a special graduation gift for her boyfriend — a wedding proposal, which he accepted.
Moments after finishing her speech Saturday at the Centenary College commencement, Emily Hawley called fellow graduate Josh Walker to the stage.
Hawley, who narrowly edged out Walker to win the valedictorian designation, then popped the question, drawing loud roars from fellow graduates.
Hawley didn’t have a ring to give Walker, and she didn’t get down on one knee, telling the Daily Record of Parsippany that her proposal was “nontraditional enough.”
But Walker, who admitted being caught off guard, said he didn’t mind.
The couple, both Maine residents who have dated for seven years, since they were sophomores in high school, haven’t set a date. But they do plan to live in New Jersey.
Hawley, who had a perfect 4.0 grade point average and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in equine sciences, said her parents were “shocked” by her proposal. However, it was not the first time she had broached the subject with her fiancee.
“We had talked about marriage, and I had asked him if it was OK if I proposed,” Hawley told the newspaper.
Walker, a history major who had a 3.999 GPA and has a teaching certificate, said his family was happy with the day’s events.
“I think I saw one of my aunts leap out of her chair,” he said, “so I’m assuming they (his relatives) were surprised.”