For the Carbone siblings — who are believed to be Long Island’s first set of quintuplets — the logistics of college graduation ceremonies are a unique challenge.
By Sunday, four of the quints will graduate in three ceremonies taking place in two states.
Thanks to some helpful college officials, the family will be able attend the graduations of all four children — but two of them will be walking across the stage a day later in another program’s ceremony.
Austin, Brandon, Marissa and Brianna Carbone will receive their degrees this weekend. The 22-year-old siblings, of Old Brookville, have always been close and as it turned out, so were their graduation ceremonies.
Austin and Brandon attend Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut, while Marissa and Brianna attend Marist College in Poughkeepsie, and both colleges had their commencement ceremonies scheduled for Saturday.
“My mom heard a rumor they might be on the same day like a year ago,” Brandon said, adding the family found out for sure a few months ago and scrambled for a backup plan.
The fifth quint, Francesca, attends Adelphi University, and was also close to having her ceremony the same day, mother Denise Carbone said. But with a few extra credits still on her plate, she’ll instead be graduating next year.
“At first, it was an upsetting feeling and you’re thinking you have to put names in a hat to decide who’s going,” she said. “But thankfully we didn’t have to do that.”
The family alerted Quinnipiac officials, who began to look into how Denise and Lou Carbone could attend both ceremonies with more than 30 family members in tow, Brandon said.
Denise Carbone said she and her husband have always stressed the importance of family support and celebrating each other’s milestones, graduations included.
“We try to make a point as a family to spend a lot of time together, so even when everyone is apart, we try to go to each other’s events and celebrate milestones,” she said. “They’re kind of each other’s best friends.”
Quinnipiac spokesman John Pettit said officials came up with a solution: The boys would accept their degrees, a premedical degree for Austin and one in business management for Brandon, as planned Saturday at their respective program ceremonies. But Sunday afternoon, the boys would do it again along with graduates of the School of Nursing, this time with mom, dad and sisters in the audience.
“Quinnipiac said ‘They can walk on Saturday and they can walk on Sunday so you can see it,’ ” Brandon said.
“We’re very excited and very grateful to Quinnipiac to allow us to walk at both,” Austin said. “That was a huge positive for us.”
Brandon will stay at Quinnipiac to earn his MBA and Austin is planning to take a gap year before going to medical school. Brianna, with her digital media degree, and Marissa, with her advertising degree, will be looking for jobs. Francesca will complete her social work degree, then continue on to graduate school.
Denise Carbone said she’s grateful to celebrate one more milestone together before her children go their separate ways and have one more summer at home.
“For years it’s been very busy, the years went tremendously fast — I remember kindergarten like yesterday,” she said. “You really have to be grateful. If they’re happy, you are too.”