EUGENE, Ore. — A little rain was no problem for the University of Oregon, as thousands of graduating Ducks kept their parade going.
Around 35,000 family members and friends gathered at Matthew Knight Arena for graduation Monday.
Graduates say they’re leaving the UO with lots of excitement and enthusiasm about the future.
“After I got done with my last class and I thought about what I had to do the next day and I realized there was nothing at all, I decided to wait until graduation happened. So, that’s when it really hit me,” said UO graduate Fletcher Parker.
“It’s really surreal. Like, at first, I was like ‘Okay. I’ll do this for my parents, and then this morning I think I woke up at like four o’clock in the morning ready to go,” said UO graduate Michelle Vandehey.
More than 5,000 students graduated from UO on Monday.
“It feels kind of crazy. It’s kind of nerve-wracking but exciting at the same time,” said UO graduates Torrin Torgrimson.
The excited students were on campus bright and early, marching in the Duck Walk from the EMU to Matthew Knight Arena, where family and friends waited for them to take center stage.
“It’s a little bit new for them because none of them graduated from college. I’m the first one, so they’re pretty excited about all that,” Torgrimson said.
And while these graduates sat and soaked in what speakers like UO President Michael Gottfredson and fellow students had to say, they also reflected on their own experiences and thought about what’s to come.
“There was a lot of struggles and a lot of great times, and I think I grew a lot as a person, and I’ve really like figured out who I was and who I wanted to be,” Vandehey said.
“Still looking for some kind of work. I still haven’t found what I really want to do yet,” said UO graduate Torrin Torgrimson.
“I’m kind of taking a year off between school. I want to apply to PA school or nursing practitioner programs,” Parker said.
But before these Ducks take flight, Parker has one more thing to say.
“Go Ducks until the day I die,” Parker said.
The oldest undergraduate Monday was 64 years old. There was also a 66-year-old who graduated with a master’s. The most popular majors for this graduating class were journalism, business and psychology.