Commencement ceremonies celebrate 1,600 Western Illinois graduates
Western Illinois University held its spring commencement ceremony marking a milestone for the 1,600 students who earned their degrees.
Not only was it a time to reflect on memories, but graduates also receive extra words of wisdom from president Jack Thomas.
His commencement speech, "a tradition of tough", touched on both the student's and university's ability to overcome adversity.
"The students came here with talent, but our faculty and staff helped to shape that talent," said President Thomas.
For some graduates, they're already looking forward to the next chapter in life.
"Words can't describe how happy I am. I'm the first in my family to graduate from college, so this is a really good feeling for me," said graduating student Montellomarr Carlton, Jr.
"It felt like having 1,000 pounds lifted off of you. It's the greatest feeling ever," said another graduate, Christopher Pierce.
When all was said and done, students proudly walked across the stage in front of family and friends for their diploma.
And although they're stepping out into new adventures, these graduates will forever be Leathernecks.