Masters to matrimony: SoPA grad surprised with commencement proposal
Loré Coleman knew that her graduation day from the Tulane School of Professional Advancement (SoPA) last May would be special, but she never suspected that the day would become a celebration for an occasion other than the long-awaited completion of her graduate degree.
Coleman’s boyfriend of nearly 10 years, Corey Helton Jr., surprised Coleman with a marriage proposal following SoPA’s 2022 diploma ceremony — a moment captured by cell phone.
The perfectly-timed proposal was set to the sounds of SoPA’s annual second-line parade that ushers new grads from McAlister Auditorium to the school’s commencement party held in the Lavin-Bernick Center (LBC) on the Uptown campus.
A still from the proposal video posted on Loré Coleman’s social media shows the moment she said “yes” with her second-line umbrella in one hand and her newly received diploma in the other. (Image from Instagram)
“I was so busy dancing with my umbrella in the second line that I didn’t notice until he kneeled,” said Coleman of the moment. “I was really surprised.”
Helton said the gathering of Coleman’s out-of-town family and closest friends for the purpose of her graduation seemed the perfect opportunity to propose before loved ones who could help celebrate the couple.
In 2022, Coleman received her Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management, her second degree from Tulane SoPA. Coleman also earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences in 2015 after transferring to Tulane SoPA on the recommendation of her now fiancé who was a student in SoPA’s Information Technology program.
“If I wouldn’t have had Corey to show me what Tulane had to offer, I wouldn’t have known,” said Coleman. “It was really thanks to him that I found my place at Tulane.”
The couple originally met and became close friends during a 2011 summer internship with the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans.
Coleman recalls Helton as her first unofficial tour guide of Tulane’s Uptown campus, which included LBC restaurant recommendations and a chance run-in with then-university president Scott Cowen.
While the two did not start dating until two years later, Helton walked Coleman through applying for financial aid, scheduling her classes, participating in Office of Multicultural Affairs events, and even ordering her textbooks.
Coleman and Helton will tie the knot on Saturday, May 27, 2023 exactly one year and six days after the 2022 engagement.
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