WINSTON-SALEM, NC -- Nearly 2,000 new graduates joined the Demon Deacons alumni family Monday, under a beautiful sunny sky at Wake Forest University's historic quad.
A WFU jobs expert believes this group of graduates is entering possibly the strongest jobs market in years.
"We've had more employers on campus this year -- 22% (more than last year). More and more of our employers are actually recruiting our students through virtual means," said Mercy Eyadiel, the associate vice-president of career development.
WFMY News 2's Meghann Mollerus met several students who already have jobs lined up after college. Each student has faced challenges on their journeys, but one student, in particular, overcame a unique obstacle.
Kathryn Webster lost her vision in high school, but with a lot of ambition and the help of her guide dog Enzo, she conquered college.
"I was worried about coming into college thinking I’d not be able to pursue math – my major of choice. Wake has pushed me to do that. During my time here, I’ve tried to prove everyone wrong by going above that bar and setting my apart from all the students by getting into leadership and academic extracurricular activities, so I’ve had an incredible time here."
She added, "I'm excited and really sad (to graduate). I love Wake, so I'm sad to leave, but I'm ready for the next part of my life."
Pulitzer-prize-winning author and presidential historian Jon Meacham delivered the commencement address, joining a long list of famous speakers before him to have done the same.
Meacham's theme was to be reflective of the past in order to understand and be hopeful about the future.
Fun facts about Wake Forest University graduation:
- 4: Number of graduates in the first graduating class, 1839
- 13,000: Number of chairs set up on Hearn Plaza
- 3 hours: Approximate length of commencement
- 1964: The year the first black student (Edward Reynolds) graduated
- 7: Number of honorary degrees awarded this year
- 1966: First year commencement was held on the Quad, now known as Hearn Plaza; (from 1957 to 1965 commencement was held in Wait Chapel)
- 4: Number of times rain has forced commencement inside (2010, 1991, 1983, and 1973)
- 1957: First class to graduate on the “new” campus
- 2 hours: Length of commencement speech delivered in 1858 by Solomon Satchwell
- 1981: Last class to receive sheepskin diplomas