It was a "day of great significance" for the 981 graduates of Monmouth University on Wednesday afternoon.
Those were the words used by Monmouth University Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Sculthorpe as he addressed the crowd of graduates, parents and teachers who filled the PNC Bank Arts Center.
"Remember you are Hawks, and Hawks spread their wings and soar," Sculthorpe said. "You are the reason we do what we do."
This year's commencement speaker was NCAA President Mark Emmert, who said he was happy because he "got to be a member of the class of 2012."
Emmert spoke of the importance of sports in students lives and said student athletes actually have higher graduation rates than those who are not student athletes.
"Sports provide us with an amazing glue that holds the community together," Emmert said. "It provides us with a social connection."
He said it is important for graduates to "play games and participate in sports."
He said even parents have doubts about their children's futures, but that it is another group who has total confidence.
"The people whom never have any doubts are the grandparents," Emmert said.
The ceremony continued with the recognition of the academic talents of several graduates and ended with the students receiving their degrees.
Sculthorpe summed up the day by quoting a student who spoke to the university's newspaper The Outlook.
"We don't remember the days, we remember the moments," Sculthorpe said.