This is the day nearly 500 Southern University students have been waiting for, ever since they first stepped foot on campus.
Sally Ross, Imani Williams, and James Fontenot said they are ready for the next step in their lives.
“I have decided that I want to go to Yale University. That is my plan,” Ross said.
“I have an opportunity with State Farm to possibly be an insurance sales agent. So hopefully I do that, hopefully I’m successful,” Fontenot said.
Ross is a native of Baton Rouge, and she got special recognition from Governor-Elect and Guest Speaker John Bel Edwards.
“One of your classmates Sally Ross graduates today with the highest GPA in the College of Science and Agriculture,” Edwards stated.
“It was an amazing feeling. I was kind of surprised when I heard my name, and that’s something I’m definitely going to remember about this graduation,” Ross admitted.
Southern had a big push this election to get more students to vote, and Ross did her part.
“Yes I did,” Ross said.
Edwards touched on how important higher education is and how critical it is to lighten the burden of student loan debt.
“It is unacceptable on what should be a joyous day, many of you are probably already wondering how you’re going to pay off the student loans and the crippling debt that it took you to reach this point,” Edwards said.
“I would rather everyone have an equal opportunity once they graduate to be able to kind of enjoy their degree, rather than worry about ‘oh I have to worry about this loan to pay or this loan,'” Williams added.
“I think Governor Edwards did a great job. He got our attention. He got my attention, Fontenot said.
More than 300 students earned their bachelor’s, while around 180 earned advanced degrees.