HIGH POINT, N.C. -- A quadriplegic student at High Point University graduated Saturday and the man who devoted four years to helping him was awarded for his kindness.
HPU President Dr. Nido Qubein presented Ernest Greene with an honorary doctorate of humane letters after student Collin Smith received his degree.
Greene has volunteered his time to care for, drive and take notes for Smith in every university course during the past four years.
Smith was involved in a car wreck at age 14, resulting in him being a quadriplegic – meaning he doesn’t have use of his arms or legs.
Greene said he first heard about Smith’s accident through a prayer request at church. He did not know Smith, but said he believes God wanted him to help him, so he received training on how to care for him.
Smith’s life-long dream is to become a basketball coach and Greene has also allowed him to work with an NCAA Div. I basketball team.
School officials said Smith worked with the HPU men’s basketball team this past year by assisting coaches during practices and keeping statistics during games.
“Ernest embodies the ideals of service that we hold here at High Point University,” Qubein said, according to a prepared statement.
Smith and Greene have become known affectionately around campus as a packaged deal.
“He’s like a son to me,” Greene said. “My youngest. Haha!”
While they are not sure exactly what the future holds for them, Smith and Greene said they’ll always be dear friends.
HPU officials said a total of 936 seniors received degrees at the graduation ceremony, the largest graduating class in the school’s history. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak gave the commencement address.