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Service dog receives surprise college diploma

The dog accompanied his owner to every class at Seton Hall University.
Service dog receives surprise college diploma
Posted at 2:58 PM, Jun 05, 2023

It’s been said that a dog is a man's best friend. For Seton Hall University student Grace Mariani, of Mahwah, New Jersey, her service dog Justin is not only her best friend, but served as an integral part of her education. 

Justin loyally accompanied Mariani to every class at Seton Hall during her time at the university. At the graduation ceremony on May 22, Justin joined Mariani when she was called up to receive her diploma at Prudential Center in New Jersey. 

Justin was treated to a surprise that was more than a biscuit. Seton Hall University President Joseph E. Nyre presented Justin with a diploma for perfect attendance, to the roar of the crowd in attendance.

Meanwhile, Mariani received a Bachelor of Science in Education. She plans to teach elementary and special education — and, if the school district allows it, Justin will be by her side. 

Justin is a six-year-old Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever mix that Grace received from the non-profit Canine Companions for Independence, in Long Island, New York. In addition to Justin, 2,337 students received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Seton Hall in May.   

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