A terminally ill Timaru mother suffering from metastatic cancer will graduate today from university.

Marina Charlton will be conferred with her Postgraduate Diploma in Education majoring in guidance studies from Massey University in Palmerston North this afternoon.

The mother of two said she hoped her graduation would inspire her twin 6-year-old daughters, Ella and Olivia, to follow in her footsteps.

"It is important to me that they understand the value of lifelong learning and that they know, no matter how much pain I was in, or how big the challenge, having the opportunity to learn at Massey University was something I was exceptionally proud of."

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Ms Charlton said she was thrilled to have the opportunity to share her accomplishment with other graduates.

"Each of these individuals has their own story to tell. All would have faced obstacles, big or small, along the way.

"They would have experienced the joy of discovering new information, new philosophies and perhaps they shaped a new way to view the world around them," she said.

"Thank you to the [university] staff for welcoming me home today.

"For allowing me, before I die, to be at the place that showed me dreams are possible; thank you for opening my mind to perspectives and philosophies, and for encouraging me to critically reflect on the world around me," she said.

"To be at this ceremony and walk across the stage today has been a battle. My oncologist, oncology team and supporting professionals have all worked hard to ensure the dream of attending this graduation could be a reality for me."