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Concordia Dean sees son with special needs earn his diploma

"Getting a college degree is an accomplishment, but if you have disabilities and obstacles in the way, to get around them is just amazing."

Dean of the School of Health Professions, Linda Samuel, has sat through her fair share of graduation ceremonies at Concordia University over the years. But this time around, hearing the names called and watching students cross the stage, she explains, was a little different,



"It's always exciting when its one of your children graduating and Joe was even a little more special because he had to work so hard."

Diagnosed with learning disabilities at a young age, school always was a little tougher for her son, Joe. But thanks to a partnership between Concordia and Bethesda Lutheran Communities, this spring Joe was able to proudly rep the cap and gown and cross that commencement stage to receive his diploma.

And for Linda? She says, as an educator and a mother, she couldn't be more proud.

Listen to the full piece below:
For more on this unique two-year program for students with learning disabilities at Concordia University and Bethesda College, you can visit Concordia online at

For more on Bethesda Lutheran Communities and the services they provide for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, learn more at