One month before his graduation from IUP, senior Music Education major Tim Sugrue was involved in an auto accident while on his way to student teach at Apollo Ridge High School. Although he spent weeks in the hospital and faces months of rehabilitation, Sugrue was still able to participate in the Music Department’s graduation ceremony via the Internet.
The accident on April 6, 2010, involved four vehicles and injured seven people. Sugrue sustained the worst injuries. He was pinned in his SUV for ninety minutes, pried out by the Jaws of Life, and LifeFlighted to UPMC.
He spent two-and-a-half weeks in the hospital, undergoing three surgeries to repair a shattered pelvis, two broken arms, and a broken wrist. He also sustained several broken ribs plus cuts and bruises.
His parents arrived from the Philadelphia area within hours of the accident and stayed with him for the duration of his hospital stay.
Sugrue is now in a rehabilitation center in Lawrenceville, N.J., about twenty minutes from his home. It will be several months before he is able to walk.
Thanks to the webcam and voice features of Skype, plus the help of a few dedicated friends, Sugrue was able to attend the Music Department graduation ceremony on Sunday morning, May 8, in Gorell Recital Hall. Wearing his cap and gown, Sugrue’s smiling face appeared on a laptop computer carried by Michael Kingan, associate professor of Music. Sugrue heard all the speeches and the musical performances of his friends, heard his name called, and, with the help of Kingan—who introduced him to those in attendance—literally “walked the line” with his fellow classmates. His parents and family were in his rehab room to enjoy the occasion with him.