VESTAL (WBNG) – Instead of working during commencement, a longtime member of the event parking staff at Binghamton University will actually be walking with thousands of students to accept his degree.
Frank Frear, 49, is the senior parking attendant for events at the university and he has worked his fair share of commencement ceremonies, helping thousands of people find a parking spot..
"For me, commencement has always been one of my favorite events to work since being here on the campus," Frear explained. "Even though they are long days, it’s a lot of fun to watch the families celebrate and having a good time and taking pictures."
This weekend, for the first time, Frear will be inside with the students and will accept his long-awaited degree in history with a minor in sociology.
"Deep down inside my love has always been American history. I’ve had the opportunity to meet four U.S. presidents and I’ve seen five in person and my wife just encouraged me to apply here for a history degree," said Frear.
However, it wasn’t always easy for Frear. He spent seven years being a part-time student while continuing his job at BU.
"Lots of times i would study and read at 4:30, 5:00 in the morning and try to get homework done before I got into work. So, it was a bit of a struggle but I got through it," Frear said.
Years later, Frear is happy to see his hard work pay off.
"It’s just really hard to believe and now here I am, graduating from Binghamton University… something I never thought would happen, and it’s happened," Frear noted.
He admits it may feel different for him to be at the ceremony knowing some of his best friends he works with are out in the paring lots, but Frear says the chance to wear a cap and gown will be worth it.
"It’s going to be neat to also be a part of the class of 2018, a moment that myself and my family and friends are very proud of," said Frear.
Frear says he will still work at Binghamton University and he is currently deciding whether or not to pursue a masters degree.
When Frear retires, he hopes to work for the national archives or a national park service as a tour guide.