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Wayne State University grants posthumous degree to student who died from COVID-19

Scholarship created in honor of one student

DETROIT – Wayne State University granted degrees to a student who died from coronavirus (COVID-19) before he was able to finish his schooling.

Darrin Adams was one of three students at the university who recently died. The two others died of other causes while Adams’ death was due to COVID-19.

Wayne State is giving Adams his degree anyway. The board took special action to honor all three students who died before graduation. They invited their families to the university’s virtual graduation celebration.

MORE: WSU employee studying at college for degree in sociology dies from coronavirus

"Where there was a real good guy, you know, my best friend. And he inspired me to change my life and go to school,” said Adams’ cousin, James Brown.

Brown displayed his degree. He said his cousin recommended he finish school and so he did.

“Never have I’ve never thought about going to college, but my cousin inspired me to go,” Brown said. “He had changed his life and went to school. You know he had some challenges early on in life. We all did but he overcame.”

Brown said Adams had an impressive resume. He was a member of the AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program, but that wasn’t it. He was also finishing his bachelor degree in sociology.

In addition to being a student, he worked for Wayne State University as a custodian for nearly six years.

RELATED: Wayne State opens up dorm for health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic

“As you know, the family is, you know, mourning. And I’m still going through mourning. It’s a hard pill to swallow," Brown said.

Now, there is a light at what seems to be such a dark tunnel.

Brown said the honorary degree means the world to him.

“Oh, me personally I really appreciate that. I’m quite sure the family would appreciate that because he really worked hard and I can tell you personally,” he said.

The faculty in Wayne State Department of Sociology unanimously voted to create an $1,000 annual scholarship in honor of Adams.


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