HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) — Sean Link, a 31-year-old nontraditional college student, initially thought he would never earn his degree. On Saturday, he not only graduated from Marshall University but also performed center stage at the commencement.

The Maryland native first enrolled at Marshall in 2009 and extended his graduation date several times before leaving in 2013 without a degree. After an eight-year hiatus, Link returned to Marshall’s School of Music in 2021 with a restored focus to succeed. He credits the Marshall community for helping him come back to finish his studies.

“I did the traditional path as was laid out by my advisor, but really struggled with some classes,” Link said. “It was such a sad time for me. … but the experiences away from school really helped me and made me understand what I loved during my time at Marshall. I eventually made my way back.”

At Marshall’s 2022 Winter Commencement, hundreds of graduates and their families watched Link perform two solos — the National Anthem and the University’s Alma Mater.

Marshall University Music Performance Graduate Sean Link performs at the University’s Winter Commencement Saturday, December 10, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Marshall University)

Link’s after-graduation plans include returning to Maryland area and becoming a professional performer. He said performing on stage and getting an audience’s response is something that brings him happiness and inspires him.

“I anticipate keeping active in the music scene around the D.C. area and will probably audition for the opera companies and other opportunities,” Link said. “My ability to perform is something that I’ve always loved and will continue to love.”

To learn more about Link and watch snippets of his performance, click here.