Amidst cheers from friends and family, and a few elaborate dances, Auburn seniors and graduate students bid their alma mater farewell in their graduation ceremony on Sunday in Auburn Arena.
Students in the college of education and the college of sciences and mathematics graduated in the 1 p.m. ceremony. Students in the school of forestry and wildlife sciences and the college of liberal arts graduated in 5 p.m. ceremony.
“Commencement is the most distinguished and important ceremony we host here at Auburn,” said Auburn University President Steven Leath. “It is the symbolic closing of a transformative chapter in your life, but it is also the inspiring of a launch of a new chapter, one that holds great promise and endless possibilities. I’m grateful to share this momentous occasion with each one of you.”
Leath said 4,474 degrees were earned by Auburn students who graduated in the 2019 spring semester, bringing Auburn’s total degree count earned by students to 329,841.
Leath welcomed Paul Jacobson, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Delta Air Lines, to the podium. Jacobson graduated with a bachelor’s degree in aviation management from Auburn in 1994.
Jacobson said he can remember when he first stepped foot on Auburn’s campus like it was just yesterday. He had flown in from Minnesota with a suitcase and $500 in his pocket like a stranger in a new land.
“You see, I hadn’t grown up going to football games on fall Saturdays, I didn’t know that Charles Barkley had actually played basketball here,” Jacobson said. “I hadn’t even heard my first War Eagle. I really didn’t even know Auburn.”
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Almost immediately, Jacobson fell in love with Auburn and its people.
“I hate to break it to you, but an Auburn degree is not a magic ticket that gets you into the front of any line you’ll ever find yourself waiting in,” Jacobson said. “It is not a lottery ticket that ensures you won’t have to work hard to be successful. What it is, though, is a statement and a promise that you’ll never be alone.”
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