Saturday was a day of pomp and circumstance for thousands of college students.
At Radford University, students and guests braved the stormy weather to take part in the school's spring graduation, which was cut short because of the rain.
The graduates say they are experiencing a wide range of emotions as they enter the the next chapter of their lives.
"I'm kind of nervous and scared but at the same time I am so excited to start working and be in the real world," said RU graduate Shannon Slattery.
Radford's s keynote speaker was Lt. Governor Bill Bolling. He told the graduates their lives are like a painting and they are the artist.
Several counties over in Emory, Virginia, 204 graduates received their degrees at Emory and Henry College.
They gathered for the school's 164th commencement ceremony Saturday.
Historian and professor Thomas Kidd addressed the class, as part of the school's 175th anniversary.
Hundreds of others deserve a congratulations Saturday as well.
Roanoke and Ferrum Colleges also graduated their 2012 classes Saturday.
Roanoke College says more than 400 students received diplomas. Members of that graduating class represent 27 states, and 17 countries.
And at Ferrum College, nearly 200 people graduated. It was that college's 96th commencement ceremony.
Washington and Lee University's school of Law celebrated its 163rd year by awarding juris doctor degrees to 129 graduates.
Linda Klein spoke to the graduating class. She's a practicing attorney and chair of the American Bar Association's House of Delegates.
Klein warned them not to yield to the temptation to make bad choices. When times are tough, she said, there are legions of people eager to take advantage.