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Graduates celebrate 104th commencement ceremony at Rice University

HOUSTON – Rice University celebrated its 104th commencement Saturday morning as students became graduates, walking through the arches of the famous Sallyport.

“It’s kind of crazy,” said Makenzie Drukker, a political science and French graduate. “It’s like the day that you imagine for four years and then it’s finally here and it doesn’t quite feel real yet.”

A total of 2,034 degrees were earned and two of them went to Wale Lawal, a material science and nano-engineering graduate.

“I feel amazing actually, a huge, huge stress reliever,” Lawal said. “All the long hours that you have to work, all the sacrifices you have to make. I mean it just makes you appreciate the process.”

Lawal is now also one of the newest officers in our military. He will be an engineer for the Air Force Research Laboratory.

“We have an opportunity to make a difference,” said Dr. Mae Jemison, reiterating a main theme from her commencement speech.

“I loved her speech,” Drukker said about Jemison.

Jemison is the first African-American woman to travel into space. She is a physician, engineer, entrepreneur and former astronaut.

“You do have the responsibility to move the future forward , you have the responsibility to hold us and everyone else accountable because this world, that we live in, does have incredible possibilities,” Jemison said.

Dow Drukker hopes his daughter Makenzie takes advantage of those opportunities.

“Hey I’m proud as pie, you know, to see her,” Drukker said about his daughter. “She’s worked really hard to get here and this is the beginning of the rest of her life now.”

In addition to Saturday’s ceremony, Rice held four other ceremonies Friday. Students got the opportunity to walk across the stage to receive their diplomas.