Sunny skies, blooming flowers and eager twenty somethings clad in blue caps and gowns covered the Penn State campus for graduation weekend. We cover spring, summer and fall commencements, making this the 7th graduation weekend I’ve photographed.
Friday afternoon I went out to look for features of the soon to be alumni at the key spots around campus. The line at the lion shrine stretched down the side walk, and was about two hours long. I moseyed around looking for new angles and those perfect moments.
With seven commencement ceremonies on Saturday I choose to cover one of the colleges I have not covered in the past, and one that had a notable speaker. I ended up at the College of Communications ceremony, where the executive chairman of ESPN addressed the graduates with a great message. Being in the media business I enjoyed his message to follow your passion and be persistent, and to remember family always comes first.
For me this was the most emotional moment to happen at a commencement ceremony I have attended. This young man has a medical condition which causes him to get around in a motorized scooter. With determination, and the help of a walker and two aides, he got out of his scooter and walked across the stage when his name was called. As he started out the entire Bryce Jordan Center stood and applauded him. He was beaming when he looked out and saw all the support.
The ceremony came to a close as the new alumnus swayed and sang. “Dear old state, dear old state.”