Surprise Reunion at Graduate Commencement

Dec 14, 2018

Sean Green and Tahaney Al-Balawi reconnect after first meeting in Bahrain.

graduate commencement

Sean Green and Tahaney Al-Balawi had a surprise reunion at Cal U's Winter Commencement on Dec. 14.

Hey, don’t I know you?

That was Tahaney Al-Balawi’s reaction when she spotted Sean Green from across the room.

Al-Balawi and Green, both online master’s degree students, were on campus on Dec. 14 to receive their degrees. Al-Balawi’s is a Master of Arts in Social Science: Arabic Language and Linguistics; Green majored in exercise science, with a concentration in sport psychology.

They met two years ago, before enrolling at Cal U, at the U.S. Navy support base in Bahrain, where she was putting her skills to use as an interpreter and translator for the military and Department of Defense and he was serving in the U.S. Army.

Neither knew the other was a student at Cal U until they met by chance prior to the Winter Commencement ceremony in the Convocation Center on Dec. 14.

“I was over by the mirror adjusting my cap when I saw Sean,” Al-Balawi said. “I said, ‘Don’t we know each other?’”

With beaming smiles following the surprise reunion, the two talked about life after graduation.

Green, who lives in South Carolina, plans to retire from active duty as a sergeant first class to pursue a career helping to rehabilitate wounded soldiers for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Al-Balawi is headed to Japan, where she will teach English as a second language, in May.