But as the Class of 2014 at
Perfect, sunny weather greeted the occasion, with a few grumbles over the age-old mismatch of graduatation robes over formal wear on a late spring day.
Student body president
With plenty of enthusiasm and a handful of jokes (including a reference to the long lines to register for classes) he engaged his cohort. He spoke about how they had overcome the "statistical stereotype" of African Americans graduating college, and then named off a list of classmates and the accomplishments they would make in their respective fields: engineering, education, business and others.
He intends, he later said, to use his
"Now it's our turn to make an improvement on this world," he said, just before quoting
By the Numbers: The university honored 205 graduates Sunday.
Commencement address: Scriven grew up in the public housing of
He had earned an engineering degree as an undergraduate despite initially failing Algebra in eighth grade. That was when his mother told him to remain grateful, and that if he kept working hard, his life would get better.
Scriven said he used the failure to fuel his future.
While in school, he moved his mother and sister to
"She wouldn't have put me in a nursing home," he said.
The author of seven books is retired from full-time teaching but delivers dozens of lectures and speeches worldwide each year.
In the air: With the
No direct mention was made of the financial problems of the school.
But the issue did seep through. Ward, who donated
"If you want your degree to stay strong, Saint Augustine's has to stay strong," Scriven said.
In a pledge to represent the school well among other promises of integrity, students also repeated a pledge to contribute financially to the degree they are able.
Looking back: Students generally said positive things about the efforts and quality of their professors and career services employees. They felt the school had a reputation problem as much as anything, and said the school is moving back in the right direction.
"You can let (the troubles bother you) if you want to," said Kenishea Donaldson, an engineering graduate with an intership lined up at
In general, the students spoke about positive experiences at the campus just outside downtown.
"I made some of the best firends in my life here," said
All in the family:
The ties go beyond three generations, too. Delany's great great grandfather was Bishop
"We've kind of built this place," Delany said after his family prodded him to note the legacy.
Jahner: 919-829-4822; Twitter: @garnercleveland
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