FAMU commencement leaves graduates inspired

Smiling faces and excitement filled the room as the new Florida A&M alums marched into the Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium with a sense of achievement and excitement.

According to FAMU alumna Antoinyce Eaton, Friday’s commencement was an inspiring and joyous occasion.

“Graduation is always a reflective and emotional time that will hopefully propel the graduates into the next part of their journey,” said Eaton, a Raleigh, N.C., native.

Interim President Larry Robinson presided over the ceremony and welcomed the families, friends and guests and introduced the speaker for the evening, Anton Elwood.  

Elwood, pastor of New Mount Zion A.M.E. Church, gave the commencement address. He stressed the importance of life lessons and praised the graduates for their achievements. Elwood also encouraged them to never give up as they face new obstacles in life.

Tiffany Morrow, a junior nursing student from Miami, said she enjoyed the humorous and entertaining address.

“Pastor Elwood was excellent,” she said. “He encouraged the graduates to never forget to strike. I am sure this message will remain with them for years to come.”

Camille Baker, 2013-14 Miss Florida A&M University, said seeing others reach the milestone of graduation gave her encouragement. The Orlando native said she was filled with pride as they received their diplomas.  

“As I sung the alma mater, I realized how much of an eye-opening experience graduation was for me,” Baker said. “It was amazing seeing the graduates. I’m so proud of them for graduating from such a great HBCU such as Florida A&M University.”   

The graduates applauded themselves and their peers for their achievements and moved their tassels as they proceeded to enter the next stage of their lives.

Jasmine Yates, 2012-13 Miss FAMU, who obtained a degree in health care management, said she was overcome with a mixture of emotions during the ceremony.

“It was a glorious occasion,” Yates said. “I’m so happy that I completed this milestone in my life. It’s bittersweet leaving Tallahassee and the friends I have grown to love like family, but I am ready to start this new journey in my life.”