ASHLAND -- Ashland University honored students from this and last year's graduating classes with a commencement ceremony Saturday.
Nearly 500 undergraduate and 200 graduate students participated in separate ceremonies, both outdoors at Jack Miller Stadium.
Commencement speakers lauded graduates on their persistence and strength over the course of the last year.
"You have all survived and thrived and you have accomplished an amazing feat," said James Hess, board of trustees chair, during the undergraduate ceremony.
Hess told graduates the lessons they learned as they adapted to a global pandemic will allow them to bless others in the future. He ended a brief address by urging the new alumni to come back and visit.
University President Carlos Campo presented the class gift, a purple and gold mantle representing perseverance, reconciliation and faith -- all qualities he said graduates will need as they move forward.
Jud Logan, head track and field coach and four-time Olympian, gave the final address "vetting excellence."