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Student Life

Graduating to the Next Stage

Father and daughter graduate together at AU.

Glynnis Purcell and her father, Michael, at AU's commencement ceremony.

They’re ready for their close-up. Michael and Glynnis Purcell — the first father and daughter in American University history awarded diplomas at the same graduation ceremony — shared the stage at the university’s 125th commencement ceremonies. Michael, an architect at AU, received an MFA in creative writing; Glynnis earned a bachelor’s degree in theatre. “Give it five years and you’ll see her on the big screen,” the proud dad said. Glynnis is going to Australia to pursue an acting career, but the father and daughter hope to team up someday on a play. 

“It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Glynnis said of the event. “My dad’s always been there for me.”

The Purcells’ story was featured on NBC4 in Washington, D.C., as well as in markets as far flung as Reno, Spokane, Norfolk, Roanoke, and Hattiesburg, Mississippi.