BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – More than 550 Southern University students who received their degrees at an in-person ceremony at Mumford Stadium on Friday.

“You’re walking across the stage. You’re getting your diploma. You have people that are cheering you on. It’s just something about hearing your name and the crowd just congratulating you and recognizing your hard work,” said Kierra Mitchell.

“I was more happy for my parents because they wanted to see me graduate,” said Terrel Lewis.

Graduates could have up to five ticketed guests and face coverings were required. Attorney and political commentator Bakari Sellers was the commencement speaker, letting the graduates know they beat the odds.

“As you leave here today, go with the knowledge and tradition that dares you to be more than you ever dared to imagine and stand with our nation’s hope. This is our call to urgent action. Right here, right now. Stand proud and we will stand with you,” said Sellers.

Now, they are taking those words with them as they walk into the next chapter of their lives.

“I’m going to enjoy my summer. Then I’m going to apply for some jobs and just start my new career,” said Mitchell.