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Ruby Robinson got the gift of a lifetime at her graduation from Columbia University’s Engineering School this week. Her father, an Army reservist serving in Afghanistan, made a surprise visit at the ceremony and it brought her to tears.

“Congratulations, young lady,” Captain Keith Robinson told his daughter as she walked across the stage. “I am so proud of you. I love you so much.” Their father-daughter embrace stopped the show and hundred of graduates and attendees clapped in shared excitement.

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The 22-year-old computer science major wasn’t expecting to see her dad at Monday’s graduation. He had been deployed in northern Afghanistan for the last six and told her he wouldn’t be able to make it.

But, according to NBC, his general was able to arrange a last-minute leave. Robinson took a series of flights to make Ruby’s big day, including a 14-hour plane ride from Kuwait to Washington, D.C. From D.C. he flew to Denver, then from there he caught a flight to New York City just in time for the ceremony.

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“I really didn’t expect for him to be there,” Ruby said. “I was kind of upset about that, but I knew he had other duties to do in Afghanistan. So when he came I was so excited.”

“To have him here in the flesh mean so much to me,” she added. “To have your parents at your graduation is a big thing.”

Watch the tear-jerking moment below.


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