UT Grads make it to the finish line

It's a special time for the University of Texas as thousands of students are graduating and will soon be entering the real world. On Saturday, dozens of commencement ceremonies were held across the University of Texas at Austin campus. 

Thousands of students ready to close this chapter of their lives.  

Words of encouragement were given to graduates as they get ready to take on the world. 

The School of Public Affairs held their ceremony at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium. "It feels fantastic a huge weight lifted off my shoulders but it feels like the end of a finish line for one race and the beginning of another," said Roosevelt Neely, UT graduate.

Roosevelt Neely was selected by his peers to be the class speaker.

He's said graduating from UT was a dream come true. 

Family and friends came out to root him on as his accepted his diploma.

But Neely said his biggest fan was his mom. "Roosevelt wasn't a kid who wanted to go to school never wanted to do his homework the greatest procreator. And too see that he's come this far is amazing. It's like you never give up you keep the faith although he didn't start out fast and furious he made 
it," said Barbara Neely.

One by one a graduate accepted their diploma followed by a handshake. 

Once they received their diplomas the tradition lived on…with moving of the tassel from the right side of the cap to the left side. A gesture symbolizing a movement from student to graduate. "We've spent two years here training ourselves working with each other for these relationships because we have a common goal in mind and I'm really excited to see what everyone does," said Dana Johnson.

Johnson took a few moments throughout the day to take it all in, while her mom worked to hold back tears of joy. "I just couldn't be happier. This is quit special for that kid… I think," said Martha Pernokas.

By the end of the ceremony many graduates felt ready to take on another challenge while others were ready to hit the work force. "PhD program at the LBJ School which I'm really excited about and I will be doing four more years.  My experience here has confirmed that I want to teach."

"I think going to work I will be nervous and I won't know what to expect but being in grad school and being challenged and having different things thrown at me it prepares me for whatever obstacles," said Neely. 

All graduates will also attend the University-wide commencement ceremony at the UT Tower. 

The ceremony will include fireworks and the UT Tower also be lite burnt Orange.