LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) --An emotional graduation service was held at Cal State Long Beach Thursday morning as the parents of Nohemi Gonzalez, who was killed in the Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks, accepted her degree.
Gonzalez, 23, was a senior studying industrial design abroad in Paris at the time the terrorist attacks happened. She would have been the first member of her family to graduate from college.
For her mother, Beatrice Gonzalez, and her father, Jose Hernandez, walking up to the podium was bittersweet.
"I always get emotional when it comes to remembering all the achievements of my daughter. It's very sad for me," Beatrice said. "She's always going to live in my heart and the diploma is going to remind me of the wonderful person that she was."
Not only was the degree important, CSULB held a special place in Gonzalez's heart. Family members said she planned to make the school a permanent part of her life.
"This campus was her home. This campus was her heart, and yes, she was excited to graduate and to do other things in her career - but she knew she would never leave," her brother Juan Duran said.
As graduates accepted their degrees amid cheers and smiles, pride and sadness gripped Gonzalez's mother and father. Gonzalez's name was the first to be read at the ceremony and it was greeted to a standing ovation from everyone in the crowd.