M ost graduating seniors will leave the University of Colorado Friday with a diploma and a pat on the back from mom and dad.

Some graduates will get cash from family and friends congratulating them on their accomplishments. Others are just happy they have a degree.

But CU senior Patrick Boulas’s mom, Mari Boulas, was thinking outside of the box when she picked out his graduation gift.

“I’m going to the Kentucky Derby,” Patrick Boulas said.

Growing up in Kentucky, Patrick Boulas knows all about the big race, but he’s never actually attended.

With this year’s Derby falling the day after Patrick Boulas’s college graduation, it was a perfect fit, Mari Boulas said.

“It worked out really well,” Mari Boulas said. “It’s my parents’ 50th anniversary and they wanted the whole family to go to the Derby to help them celebrate.”

Mari and Patrick Boulas will board a plane the morning after graduation and head straight to Louisville for the festivities.

“It’s not something I can do for him every year,” Mari Boulas said. “This is really a once in a lifetime experience that most college graduates wouldn’t be able to do for themselves.”

While Patrick Boulas revels in his graduation surprise, other graduates are less enthusiastic about their gifts.

“I get to pick something nice out when my parents come,” said graduating senior Blair Iaffaldano.

Iaffaldano said she’s happy to get money from her parents to spend on anything she wants. Unfortunately, after four years of racking up student loans, she’s planning on putting the money towards her first payment.

Patrick Boulas said he’s feeling pretty lucky to have such an extravagant gift from his mom, especially during tough economic times.

“I’m really excited to get to spend this time with my family at the Derby,” he said. “It’s really a sentimental gift for us.”

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