Boyfriend Proposes to Girlfriend at Her University Graduation: Sweet or Selfish?

While the moment was clearly well-received, not everyone is a fan of public proposals—especially when they take place during other people’s special moments

A hand holding up an award tied up with a bow and a ring around in on a pink background

(Photo: Leo Tapel)

How would you feel if on the day of your university graduation, your partner halted your convocation to propose to you in front of a massive audience? That’s what happened to recent University of Ottawa proposal recipient-slash-graduate Roxan Ghossein.

As reported by CBC, Ghossein was walking across the stage on Sunday, collecting her bachelor of arts degree, when Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” started playing on the theatre’s speakers, and a group of people carrying pink letter balloons spelling out, “Will You Marry Me” danced through the audience.

The crowd turned out to be the family of Ghossein’s boyfriend, Dany Rafful. With another bunch of red and white balloons in hand, Rafful appeared from behind them and ran on stage with a mic, and began proposing to a shocked Ghossein.

“Roxan, you were so afraid that when I popped that question, you wouldn’t have your nicest dress or your freshest nails,” he said in front of a cheering audience. “Let me tell you something, with or without the dress, with or without the freshest nails, you always look absolutely incredible.”

As Ghossein wiped her eyes, Rafful continued, “I promise to always respect you, and honour you. I promise to never stop being your best friend, or your lover. I want to be your protector, and your provider. I want to show the world how to love a woman, and most likely I want to love you properly.”

Awkward speech aside, Rafful then got down on one knee, and said, “Now will you please make me the happiest, the luckiest man? Roxan Ghossein will you marry me?!” Ghossein said yes.

While the moment was clearly well-received by Ghossein, not everyone is a fan of public proposals—especially when they take place during other people’s special moments.

In 2016, when Chinese diver He Zi won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics, her boyfriend used the opportunity to propose to her immediately afterward—on camera. Chatelaine wrote about how her Olympic win was overshadowed by her partner’s act, and how a diamond ring is still regarded as the ultimate prize for women. People had similar reactions when an American man proposed to his girlfriend at her sister’s wedding in 2015, and much of the internet said the move was selfish and took away from the bride’s day.

While Rafful clearly wanted to impress Ghossein and make his proposal memorable, he chose to do so at an occasion that was about celebrating her achievements—and the achievements of the other graduates, too. We’re all for happy couples, but when a proposal detracts from another special occasion, it might be best to keep the ring in your pocket.

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