Rain delays Virginia Tech commencement; Beamer gives keynote address

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) -- Panchos, umbrellas, even trash bags -- whatever it took to stay dry as Virginia Tech's class of 2019 entered Lane Stadium to "Pomp and Circumstance" and plenty of rain.

"I think I'll remember most the uncertainty of whether or not it was actually going to happen," said graduate Jack Holland.

Holland, who gave one of the student speeches, said for a while he thought the ceremony might be called off.

But after an hour delay, the show went on, as more than 5,000 Hokie graduates filed into Lane one more time as students.

They're the last students that can say they saw Frank Beamer coach while they attended Virginia Tech, in his final season when they were just freshmen.

"The end of a dream for me at Virginia Tech and the beginning of a new chapter for you," Beamer said.

In Beamer's keynote address, he recounted lessons he's learned from others in his life, even borrowing a line from a famous country singer.

"I hope that when you leave here today, you will remember the words of Tim McGraw and Frank Beamer. What's those words? Always be humble and kind," he said.

When the weather threatened to cancel, Holland said he thought about how graduation means more than just a ceremony.

"What really matters was being around family and friends," Holland said. "And to have those people who have been mentors and coaches and the influences of your life, to all be here celebrating the graduates and the Class of 2019, that was what mattered. And so, the fact that it went off was great and it just made it that much more fun of a day."