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Arkansas Tech commencement includes surprise marriage proposal | News

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Arkansas Tech commencement includes surprise marriage proposal

RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (December 19, 2015) -- LaSabra Robertson was among the final graduates to receive her degree during the 2 p.m. commencement ceremony at Arkansas Tech University on Saturday.

After her name was called, Robertson received her degree and a congratulations from Dr. Robin E. Bowen, Arkansas Tech president. William Kiehl took Robertson's official graduation photo and she started making her way back to her seat.

Up until that moment, her commencement experience was very similar to that of the other 600-plus Arkansas Tech students who graduated at Tucker Coliseum this weekend.

She did not know that something extraordinary was about to happen. Waiting in the corridor was her boyfriend, Anthony Maltbia. He had a ring, an important question and the gumption to ask that question in front of 3,000 people. Robertson said yes to Maltbia's marriage proposal and the crowd cheered in approval.

Just like Robertson waited a long time on Saturday for her degree, Maltbia had waited a long time to ask that question.

"Four years ago, when I first met her," said Maltbia when asked when he first had the idea of proposing. "It's been a long four years, but we've made it through. We were both going to Arkansas Tech, but I took this year off to get her and my son situated. Maybe I'll be back.

Robertson didn't lose any sleep over excitement from the proposal, but only because she had no idea it was coming on Saturday.

"I was extremely surprised, but happy," said Robertson. "I was expecting it later…not today. It was a good surprise."

Robertson graduated with a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

"It was a lot, because being up late and studying late, especially having a son. (Anthony) really stepped up and helped me," said Robertson. "Whenever I needed a break, he would make it possible. I couldn't have done it without him."

Aside from planning a wedding, Robertson had one other objective in her sights, she wanted to repay Maltbia for his assistance by ensuring that he had an opportunity to complete his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering.

"That's my number one goal," said Robertson.