COLUMBIA, S.C. — A U.S. Marine who earned the Medal of Honor for throwing himself on a grenade says he was deeply honored by fellow students’ standing ovation at his University of South Carolina graduation ceremony.

Kyle Carpenter received his bachelor’s degree in international studies on Monday, according to The State newspaper. He was recognized during the ceremony, leading to applause from the entire crowd.

Carpenter said fellow students frequently thanked him individually for his service, but the standing ovation at his graduation was perhaps his best moment at the school.

“That was one of the most incredible moments since I woke up at the hospital and realized I had a second chance at life,” Carpenter told the newspaper shortly after graduating.

Carpenter was credited with saving the life of a fellow Marine by shielding him from an exploding grenade in Afghanistan in 2010. He received the nation’s highest military honor from President Barack Obama in 2014.

Carpenter lost his right eye and suffered a collapse lungs and broken bones, leading to dozens of surgeries.

Now, Carpenter is weighing options for life after college. He said he plans to continue working with veterans groups and serving as a motivational speaker.

“My college experience was like everyone else’s. I learned a lot. I gained a new perspective on the world and on people that I’m so thankful and appreciative for,” Carpenter said. “I was first and foremost a fellow Gamecock and friend before a Medal of Honor recipient. I just had a four years that is too special to put into words.”

Information from: The State,

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