Two graduation ceremonies were held Saturday, awarding 1,160 new Auburn graduates with degrees, marking over 315,000 degrees since the University's beginning in 1856.
The Education, Engineering, Forestry and Wildlife Sciences, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Nursing school graduates received their degrees at the 10 a.m. ceremony while the graduates of the Agriculture, Architecture, Design, and Construction, Business and Science and Mathematics colleges received theirs at 2 p.m.
The 2 p.m. ceremony, held in the Auburn Arena, began with CADC Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Ben Farrow introducing the Auburn ROTC Color Guard. As they presented the colors, the AU Graduation Band conducted by Dr. Rick Good performed the National Anthem, accompanied lyrically by Anne Duraski from Auburn’s department of music.
New Auburn President Steven Leath, presiding over his first graduation series this summer, began his speech by encouraging the graduates to thank their family and friends who supported them throughout their college career with a round of applause.
“Today marks the culmination of years of hard work and discipline,” Leath said. “We are all excited to see the mark that each of you will leave on the world, but I am especially excited that you are among the first group of graduates I am sending off as president of Auburn University.”
Executive Committee Member of the College of Human Sciences Women’s Philanthropy Board and “This is Auburn” Campaign Co-Chair Beth Thorne Stukes, who has raised over $1 billion for Auburn through the campaign, spoke to students about the importance of using one’s education throughout life.
“Today is the first page of the blank book on which you will write your life story,” Stukes said. “You must be bold, be purposeful and act reasonably.”
Stukes admitted how much of an honor it was to be among the Auburn Family, as although her mother, three siblings and her son graduated from Auburn, she had not, and only became involved with Auburn after a life dedicated to education. She went on to explain how graduates should use their education to leave a legacy for others.
“No matter who, or how, you worship I think we can agree that we sit under the shade of trees — oak trees in our case — that others planted and we hope that those that come after us will find our life’s seeds productive”, Stukes said.
After the speech, Dr. Timothy Boosinger honored students with academic honors, Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude. Then members of Phi Kappa Phi and military service members were recognized.
Over the two ceremonies, Auburn awarded 103 doctoral degrees, 295 master’s degrees, 18 educational specialist degrees and 744 bachelor’s degrees.
Auburn Alumni Association Chair Rip Britton congratulated the new graduates and reminded them to give back to the school that prepared them for the future and the new alumni turned their tassels to the left as the Auburn Alma Mater played to conclude the ceremony.