Seth Owen, a Georgetown University student, said when he was coming out, he’d looked up to Ellen DeGeneres.
On Tuesday’s episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ellen DeGeneres left Georgetown University student Seth Owen speechless when she gave him a pleasant surprise.
Owen, a Florida native, gained viral fame after one of his teachers created a fundraiser to help pay for his college tuition. Sadly, he was unable to pay a $20,000 bill for Georgetown after his Southern Baptist parents shunned him because he’s gay.
The fundraiser had a small goal of $20,000 and ended up raising more than $141,636 in two months.
While talking to DeGeneres on Tuesday, Owen said his father learned he was gay during his sophomore year. He revealed that his parents sent him to conversion therapy intended to counteract him of his same-sex attraction.
“The dangerous part about that is, as a patient, I believed that this health care professional was doing what was best for me,” Owen stated. During his senior year of high school, his church appointed a new pastor who began teaching anti-LGBTQ sermons.
“I asked to go to a different church, and they said that I would either have to go with them or move out. And so I decided that day that I had to move out,” he said.
When Owen’s circumstances became internationally publicized, Georgetown countered by offering him a full scholarship. Owen now plans to use the money from his fundraiser to establish a scholarship fund “for people in similar situations.”
At that point, DeGeneres gave the student a $25,000 check toward his scholarship fund.
Owen’s words of praise preceded the moving moment for DeGeneres as an LGBTQ rights icon.
“When I was writing my papers at 2 a.m., I often had to look up your videos for inspiration,” he added. “There were so many times that you really pulled me through, so I really appreciate that.”
Watch the moment below.