ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany State University students entered the Civic Center on Saturday morning and left as college graduates.
Students from four undergraduate colleges and five master's degree programs each made their walk.
University President Art Dunning kicked off the commencement with a message to students.
Dunning says the day is all about celebrating their hard work.
"It's always a feeling of excitement because the symbolism of work is what we are doing, the symbolism of academic work. It's celebratory for the families. Everyone is excited. This is what higher education is all about," said Dunning.
That's a message that hits home with 23-year-old William Haywood.
Haywood now holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication.Haywood says his hard work is paying off.
"I worked so hard to get here. To walk across that stage and know all that I put in and the people that were in my corner," said Haywood.
Haywood is among the hundreds of graduates who are now out in search of a job. He says he's interested in radio broadcasting.
President Dunning says this is a critical time for many of the soon-to-be professionals.
"Right now, in their life, they have so many forks in the road they can take. They have so many great options and choices. One message I want them to take away is what they can do with their life if they choose wisely and choose well," said Dunning.
Federal Health and Human Services Commissioner Rafael Lopez was the commencement speaker during the ceremony.