Timothy Cole's family receives his honorary TTU law degree

Published: May. 15, 2015 at 11:09 PM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2016 at 2:26 PM CDT
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Cory showing diploma
Cory showing diploma
Sean & his children
Sean & his children

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It is the first recorded honorary degree Texas Tech has ever awarded. Friday afternoon, the university awarded a Bachelor Degree in Law and Social Justice to Timothy Cole.

Cole was a former student of the School of Law who was imprisoned for a rape he did not commit in 1985. He died in prison 13 years later.

Dozens of supporters gathered at the ceremony hosted inside the School of Law, where Cole's family accepted his degree.

"Timothy couldn't be here," said his brother, Cory Session, shaking his head. "It's about 30 years late, but better late than never."

After the ceremony, Cole's family visited his memorial statue at 19th and University.

Cory stared up at his big brother and said they can't think of a better honor for Timothy than for him to face the law school he dreamed of graduating from, and to receive a diploma printed with his cleared name.

"It was a good feeling to know that the state knew it, Lubbock knew it," said Timothy's brother, Sean Session, "Lubbock County knew that Tim didn't do anything."

Although it was too late to make Timothy a free man once they proved he was innocent, it was not too late to honor him.

"After death, now he's helping more people than he probably could have ever in life," Sean said.

Timothy's siblings find comfort in his statue, and they're both proud of the legacy their brother leaves behind.

"I miss him all the time," Cory said. "My kids never got to meet him."

After the ceremony, Sean introduced his son and daughter to the statue of his role model, and Cory raised up the diploma to show Timothy his life accomplishment.

"He wanted to be exonerated, he wanted to be pardoned, he wanted to go back to Texas Tech and finish his degree and all this stuff has happened," Sean said. "Even from heaven it has happened for him, and we're extremely proud of that."

Timothy's statue also stands for a change in the justice system against wrongful convictions, and his family said there is still more to come from his case.

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