PHOENIX - The path to walk across the stage at Grand Canyon University's convocation was not an easy one for 33-year-old Phoenix resident Bol Kur.
Earning a degree for some can be one of the biggest challenges of a lifetime, but Kur had already overcome so much before setting foot in a classroom.
"When I was young, one of my older brothers told me, 'You have to go to school,'" Kur said, whose Christian name is Daniel.
Kur is Sudanese and grew up during a violent and tumultuous civil war which forced him to flee is country to save his life and also put his education on hold.
"I went to school a little bit, but I didn’t do that good because there were no schools back home in Kenya and Sudan because of the war," Kur said.
He was 17 years old in 2000 when he arrived in Phoenix as part of a resettlement program and met Patricia Bell, who says she first met the boys when they arrived late to church because they were taking the bus.
"So, I stared carpooling (Daniel) and some of the Sudanese youths who were in the refugee program," Bell said.
Bell decided to foster Daniel and three other "Lost Boys", helping them learn English, understand American culture and get jobs.
"With Daniel being as ambitious as he was, I knew he would not take 'no' for an answer and keep progressing and keep pushing until he met his goal and got what he was aiming for," Bell said.
Kur earned his bachelor's degree from Grand Canyon University and walked across the same stage for a second time, except this time he earned his master's degree in public administration with an emphasis in healthcare management.
The man plans to use his degree to help his Sudanese people and despite his older brother's death in 1992, Kur said his words are still close to his heart.
"I would say to my brother, you showed me the way and I committed and I did it and I thank you for that," he said.