Confetti, streamers, painted signs, loud noises and even the occasional bullhorn are common sights and sounds in the West Virginia University Coliseum, but Sunday the Mountaineer basketball team wasn't playing.
Instead, the friends and families of almost 3,000 West Virginia University students gathered to cheer for WVU's 132nd commencement exercises.
"This is the culmination of a lot of effort, sweat and love," said Gov. Bob Wise, who spoke at the ceremony and was the recipient of an honorary Doctorate of Law degree.
"As I look around this Coliseum, I can feel the pride and love of the parents and graduates assembled here," the governor said. "I'm excited."
That excitement was mirrored by the students receiving their degrees, who threw streamers, popped cans of confetti, cheered, did "the wave," and in one instance even danced across the stage to receive a diploma.
"(Graduating) feels so good. I'm so happy right now," said Bridget Kane, an exercise physiology degree recipient from Harrisburg, Pa.
"I'm not sad at all, just excited to be moving on to the next stage of my life. I love seeing all this pride in WVU here."
"We're so proud of her," added her mother, Mary Anne Kane. "This is a great Mother's Day gift."
For Student Body President David Workman, the day was the culmination of a lifetime's worth of dreams.
"This is amazing. It's something you think about from the time you're a little kid, graduating from college. To get to do so from a university like West Virginia makes it even more special." Workman's mother, Cheryl, said the ceremony was "very nice, very appropriate."
Many parents celebrated the occasion by waving banners with special messages on them, while a few blew bull horns and other noise makers as their children moved across stage.
The enthusiasm was received warmly by WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr., who presided over the ceremony and bestowed the degrees.
Hardesty also conferred honorary degrees on Wise, Lockwood native and WVU alumnus Winston L. Shelton, and John T. Chambers, who served as keynote speaker.
Chambers, a Charleston native and double graduate of WVU's Colleges of Business and Law, received an honorary degree for his outstanding philanthropy to WVU and his leading role in business as CEO of Cisco Systems Inc.
Chambers, in addressing the students, advised them to embrace change, stay grounded, treat others with respect and enjoy the present.
"Remember, you're never as good as people say you are, and when things get tripped up, you're never as bad as they say either."