Penn State commencement organizers prepare months ahead of time to make sure graduation goes smoothly.
Instructions are even sent to future graduates about what they’re expected to do beforehand. It includes buying a cap and gown by a certain deadline, and then being at the graduation facility at a certain time before they’re set to walk the stage.
Fall commencement was held Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center.
According to a report from Penn State, the graduates were asked to be at the arena no later than 11:45 a.m. for the 12:30 p.m. commencement. It was a similar 45-minute arrival rule for the 9 a.m. ceremony.
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And students lined up on the floor in alphabetical order signing in to register for graduation before taking an assigned seat.
But as much preparation went into commencement, students and their parents said there’s no amount of time to prepare for the moment.
It was especially emotional for Cheryl Armstrong, the mother of Colin Armstrong, who graduated from the College of Arts and Architecture.
She said 23 years of preparation for this day wasn’t enough.
“They leave the nest when they move to college, but there’s still innocence with your kids even at that age when they’re legally adults, but still teenagers,” Armstrong said. “Now they’re grown. Colin is a man now with plans for himself. I’m so proud, but it’s still hard.”
Of the 5,200 students that received diplomas university-wide, there were 275 associate, 3,800 bachelor’s, 895 master’s, 35 law and 225 doctoral degrees.
About 5,200 students received their diplomas. University-wide there were about 275 associate, 3,800 bachelor’s, 895 master’s, 35 law and 225 doctoral degrees awarded, according to a report from Penn State.
“I don’t think it hit me yet that this is graduation,” said Taylor Wright, originally from Mississippi, who graduated from the College of Health and Human Development. “I’m the first in my family (to graduate college) and I know I’m going to do great things.”
University President Eric Barron was the keynote speaker.
“Do great things,” he said. “Accomplish things that you’re proud of.”
He also noted that he saw a lot of tears in the eyes of family and friends of the graduates.
“They’re proud of you,” Barron said.
But for Almuth Schweitzer, who graduated with an engineering degree, she said she’s more proud of her mother, Liz Beauchamp, who worked at least two jobs in four years to help support her daughter.
I think of how hard I worked in college, and then compare that to what my mom did and there’s no comparison for all the stress and work she put into helping me get here. I honestly think I got the better end of the deal for having her as my mom.
Almuth Sweitzer, Penn State engineering graduate
“I think of how hard I worked in college, and then compare that to what my mom did and there’s no comparison for all the stress and work she put into helping me get here,” Schweitzer said. “I honestly think I got the better end of the deal for having her as my mom.”
Schweitzer said she interned with The Boeing Company last year, helping her land a job at its office in Illinois.
“I feel privileged to have gone to a university that set me up for future success,” Schweitzer said.
Barron said 32 percent of Americans 25 or older have college degrees.