COLUMBUS, Ohio — Sunday was a special day for hundreds of students at Otterbein University. It was also a day one father has waited years to see.
Valentina Dixon graduated Sunday afternoon with her father cheering her on from the audience. It was the first of her graduations he had been able to attend.
Valentino was imprisoned for a murder he did not commit when his daughter was four months old.
After 27 years in prison, that conviction was overturned. Because of that, he finally received the chance to watch his daughter walk across the stage to receive her degree.
“Out of everybody in this world, I needed to have you here. This moment is a miracle and a blessing I would never take this for granted,” Valentina said.
Despite some travel hiccups, Valentino was there to watch her walk the stage.
“I wouldn’t miss it for nothing in the world…this magical moment,” Valentino said.
Valentina earned her Master of Arts in Education. It’s her second graduation from the masters program at the university.
Since being released in 2018, Valentino has been busy writing a book accompanied by drawing portraits of Black freedom founders, something he picked up during his time in prison.
But he said nothing compares to spending time with family and celebrating each other's accomplishments.
"It's an awesome moment for us and just a dream come true for me, to be celebrating this momentous occasion," Valentino said.
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