The ceremony: 9 a.m. Saturday at the RBC Center in Raleigh
Number of graduates: 3,881, including 91 associate's, 2,730 bachelor's, 158 doctorates and 75 doctorates of veterinary medicine
Main speaker: Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences and renowned researcher in atmospheric chemistry and climate change. Cicerone's work has been recognized by the United Nations and other international organizations.
What he said: Only one in 100 people on Earth are fortunate enough to be college educated. So to be among this elite class is both an honor and a great responsibility.
World population growth will challenge future generations in their quest to apply limited resources to unlimited and ever expanding wants and needs. Future leaders must therefore embrace scientific and technological innovation as a social enterprise, as well as an economic one.
Future leaders must also hone their skills in science, math and other disciplines to make land more productive, increase crop yields and improve transportation and energy production for all, especially as more humans compete for Earth's limited resources.
"Stay in touch with each other and N.C. State, and you will be pleased to see how well you are doing for yourselves and how much you are capable of doing for the world," he said.
Attire: Summer dresses, pointy shoes, bow ties and the occasional seersucker
Atmosphere: Chilly (It's a hockey arena, after all.)
Weirdest cap decoration: Live mice inside a clear plastic cage, stuck to the cap of a veterinary medicine student.
Most telling moment: Concession areas filled with bored, thirsty and eager well-wishers by 11:10 a.m., well before the student commencement address by Jared P. Milrad.
Proudest parent: Garry Meyer, who twice asked camera crew members not to block his view of his daughter Elisabeth Meyer, seated up front in the valedictorian section.