Smiles, laughter, tears and shouts of "War Eagle" filled the Auburn Arena during the first of four graduation ceremonies, where the University awarded degrees to graduate and undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Human Sciences.
Auburn will award 3,738 diplomas during the four ceremonies on Saturday, May 7, and Sunday, May 8.
University President Jay Gogue formally welcomed the crowd and thanked everyone in attendance.
"Today you join a special family of Auburn graduates," Gogue said.
Brianna Gorman, who earned a degree in German, experienced that family feeling during her time as an Auburn student. She is going to teach English in Germany for a year as a Fulbright Scholar.
"I don't even know if I've ever encountered anyone that's ever even been rude in Auburn," Gorman said. "I just love the family feel, and how it's such a big school, but it doesn't feel that big. It just feels like we're like one big family."
Before graduation speaker Chris Moody, 1990 electrical engineering graduate and vice president of data strategy for Twitter, offered his advice, he encouraged everyone to follow him on Twitter, which got a laugh from the crowd.
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During his speech, he emphasized the importance of hard work and kindness.
"You guys are no stranger to hard work," Moody said. "Let's face it, you chose a university that has the words, 'I believe in work, hard work' right in your creed."
Moody said hard work can set someone apart.
"The difference between good and great is just effort," Moody said. "Ideas on their own have no power. Ideas only gain power if individuals are willing to take up the effort and make them a reality."
Moody said small acts of kindness can have a major impact on others. He cited a personal example of kindness that caused his parents to fall in love with Auburn, and in turn, draw him to the University.
"A couple of random strangers back in the late '50s were kind to some other strangers who looked lost, and forever changed the course of my life," Moody said. "I wish I could go back and hug those people, they have no idea what impact they've had on my life, or the special relationship that I have with this university."
Kindness and hard work can seem to contradict each other sometimes, according to Moody.
"The reality is, being kind can sometimes be the hardest work of all," Moody said.
He reminded the crowd to try to see the best in people in every situation.
"Small alterations can give rise to strikingly great consequences," Moody said.
For Mitchell Springfield, who graduated in psychology, graduation felt surreal.
"It won't be real until I don't come back next year," Springfield said.
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