Liberty Alum Delivers Encouraging Speech at School's 40th Comme - WSET.com - ABC13

Liberty Alum Delivers Encouraging Speech at School's 40th Commencement

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Lynchburg, VA - Liberty University held its 40th Commencement Ceremony Saturday. An estimated 30,000 people were on-hand to witness their friends and loved ones graduate.

Many people came expecting a downpour, but all they got was light mist for a few seconds.

The clouds weren't enough to dampen the spirits of the more than 7,000 graduates receiving their diplomas.

As the class of 2013 filled into William's Stadium, graduates as young as 17, could be seen waving to family and friends. For two graduates, however, their biggest supporter was sitting right next to them.

Sarai Long received her Bachelor's degree, her father Steven, received his Masters.

"It's the best father daughter date ever," said Long.

Steven says when it came to his education, family came first.

"My wife and I had six children, so I had to put my education on the side for a while until the kids grew up.. It's exciting, It's exciting to see a child graduate, yet alone get to share in the experience with her," said Steven Long.

With the threat of rain looming, FOX News Channel Reporter and Liberty University Alumni Shannon Bream encouraged graduates.

"God has a plan for you, everyone in this class, it's full of twists and turns, it will be an adventure, and at times it may break your heart. But you can rest in the assurance that nothing gets to you without first passing through his hands," Bream said. "You will need to be strong, principled, and brave. And having earned an education that emphasizes not only facts and figures, but also absolute truths, I know you're ready and I'm counting on you." 

After the ceremony some graduates said they really didn't know who Shannon Bream was before she spoke, but they say they're fans now.

"Shannon Bream was pretty awesome," David Feliciano said.

"I liked her a lot," said Jason Heckman.

"Oh I loved Mrs. Bream, she was a great speaker," said Laken Cass in agreement.

Many said they appreciated that Bream is a Liberty graduate and now so are they.

"She's been in our shoes, so it was kind of neat to see her and hear her stories from being at Liberty," Cass said.

Even though the rain held off for the main Commencement Ceremony, officials had to move some of the Degree Presentation Ceremonies to different locations. Students say that was a small price to pay for being able to have the main portion outside on their home football field.

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