Grant Kristina Panagos Her Dying Wish sign now

"MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A college student is asking a University for one last, dying wish, but the university says educational standards won't allow it.

Kristina Panagos is a 23-year-old student with cancer who is fighting to receive her Bachelor's Degree in Biology from Florida International University.

Panagos fought a childhood brain tumor through high school and, after a relapse last year, she had no choice but to withdraw from college.

Her mother says school is her life. "She has 129 credits," said Lourdes Panagos. "She was so determined to finish school that she neglected going to the doctor."

After a year and a half of treatment, doctors say there is nothing else they can do for Panagos. Although, her mother is still holding out hope. "Even though some doctors have given up, even though some doctors have told me that's it, I can't," said Panagos.

The FIU Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences says Panagos never came close to fulfilling course requirements for any one major. "It's a sad case," said Mark Szuchman. "There are no words one can explain to someone what such a loss would mean, but awarding the degree or awarding any degree is a recognition of completion of certain sets of credentials, and that the record does not show."

Panagos says getting the degree would mean a lot to her because she says she has worked so hard.

But Szuchman says the University is bound by educational standards set by the government, also by academic principles of equity. They don't award generic degrees and honorary degrees go to dignitaries with a lifetime of achievement.

Szuchman says he does not feel a dying wish for a degree is heavy-handed. "I think heavy-handed destiny is what's weighing on us all, and our abilities are unfortunately not divine," said Szuchman.

FIU has instead offered Panagos an Associates of Arts degree, which she has satisfied the requirements for.

Panagos' mother does not agree with the decision. "I don't see how this harms anyone," says Panagos. "She's gone through all this, and the least they could do is grant her her degree."

Panagos says she would go back and get her diploma and still has a lot of hope. "

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2007/08/10/wsvn.cancer.diploma.affl
http://www1.wsvn.com/news/articles/local/MI57722/


We the undersigned demand FIU reconsider their degree policy and grant Kristina Panagos her Bachelor's Degree in Biology.

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