In an arena decked with red, where cameras flashed and mothers dabbed their eyes with tissues, where a beach ball bounced through the crowd and jostled mortarboards, nearly 5,000 Wolfpack students joined the long line of diploma-carrying graduates at the RBC Center in Raleigh.
Opening sight: Brand-new doctors of veterinary medicine waving over-inflated latex gloves they typically use to sheathe their hands when inserted in a cows posterior.
Its a sophisticated piece of diagnostic equipment, said Johanna Donovan, assist director of student services. Its a rite of passage for first-year vet students.
Total degrees: 4,981, including 85 associates degrees, 3,394 bachelors degrees, 1,255 masters degrees, 170 doctoral degrees and 77 doctor of veterinary medicine degrees.
Duration of processional: 43 minutes.
Commencement speaker: James E. Rogers, president and CEO of Duke Energy. His advice: write the book of your own life, and make plenty of revisions.
Dont be limited by the current take on you. Become the strong, central protagonist in your story.
Quite a pair: Identical twins Andrew and Spencer Williams of Raleigh, both engineering grads, both made valedictorian. Whos smarter?
Probably him, said Spencer.
Probably him, said Andrew.
Most interesting shoe showing beneath the grad robes: red Chuck Taylors.
Thoughts from Kimberly Spence, graduate in biological sciences, who gave the students address: I will always remember all the hours in D.H. Hill (Library), memorizing every biochemical structure known to man.
Other memories: eating 12 donuts while running the Krispy Kreme Challenge and watching the Pack beat the Heels in football.
Dress color worn by musical group The Ladies in Red: black.
Shout-out from the platform seats: Chancellor Randy Woodson singled out several other interesting grads, including Vincent Vinnie Feucht, who learned to play the Red and White song on his trumpet in the fifth grade, toted it all the way to the Wolfpack marching band and served a stint as Mr. Wuf, the university mascot.
Best mortarboard decoration: a tie between to Sam Young of Raleigh and Elizabeth Bradshaw of Durham, both receiving doctorates of veterinary medicine. Youngs topper featured a green and bushy safari scene complete with plastic hippos, giraffes and other jungle animals, while Bradshaws hat came with a purple LED light display, which she flashed by means of a hand-held remote control.
My dad graduated from N.C. State, she said, and he had a degree in electrical engineering.
Loudest cheers: the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
I present these candidates, who will answer the question What do you do with a degree in humanities and social science? said Dean Jeffrey Braden, who paused, with the answer, Anything you want.
Random Fact Appearing on the Jumbotron: the first official basketball game was played in Pullen Hall Auditorium in 1911 100 years ago.
Ratio of trumpets to tubas in The Amalgam Brass Ensemble, which blew their way through a half-hour concert before the 45-minute processional: 2 to 1.
Parting gift: No more exams.
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