BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - To the tune of pomp and circumstance, LSU graduated its largest class in the school history.
Many graduates gathered at the PMAC for the official commencement ceremony Friday morning. At the ceremony, a total of 4,163 degrees were awarded. In addition, the 2016-17 included the most degrees awarded to women, African American, and Asian students. The oldest graduate is 16-year-old, while the oldest is 66-years-old.
Also at the ceremony, 26 LSU employees received degrees this spring.
Gov. John Bel Edwards commended the graduates during his commencement address. He called on them to live lives of heart and purpose. He also did not sway from politics, noting the yearly cuts to higher education.
"You stayed, you believed in Louisiana and I'm grateful because I believe in Louisiana, too and I believe in each and every one of you, because you have heart," Edwards said. "Louisiana's better because of you."
"We all came here for different reasons, but chances are we stayed here for a very similar one," said Zack Faircloth, student body president. "We felt like someone cared about our person success. Immediately, we found someone invested in seeing us succeed in and out of the classroom."
Among those graduating was Stephanie Trimble, 28, from New Orleans – the first in her family to ever graduate from college.
"My parents passed away when I was 10 and I always thought that this wasn't even a real thing," said Trimble.
Since their death, her life has taken a winding path for Trimble.
"I ended up quitting high school and getting my GED and I moved all around," she said.
Eventually, she decided it was time to go back to school. She graduated Friday with a degree in psychology, and she does not plan on stopping any time soon. She said she hopes to return to LSU to get a law degree.
"I'm more inspired than ever because it's not here is the finish line, it's here you go, here's the start. Get your butt going," she said.
The ceremony began with the academic procession at 7:45 a.m. and the main ceremony followed at 8 a.m. Doctoral candidates received their diplomas individually, while degrees were conferred for all students.
Diploma ceremonies followed at various locations around campus. During these ceremonies, each graduate's name was called and diplomas were handed out individually on stage.
For more information about graduation, and for a full list of graduates, visit www.lsu.edu/commencement.