Dustin Kuhn's family and friends celebrated in advance his many accomplishments on Friday.
Because on Sunday afternoon, only a few hours after he and 1,200 other Wichita State University graduates walked across the stage at the Charles Koch Arena, Kuhn wanted to be home watching the Kansas City Chiefs play the San Diego Chargers.
"I'm a big Chiefs fan," he said.
Lisa Bennett's family met her at the Olive Garden on Sunday night.
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"It is crazy busy here," said Bennett, who received her master's degree in communication sciences and disorders. "I am sure my family isn't the only one meeting at the Olive Garden on graduation night."
Sunday marked the fall ceremony of the 113th commencement at Wichita State University.
The Koch Arena was more than three-quarters filled with people watching as the graduates walked onto the main floor.
"These times demand individuals who have the capacity to think creatively, to work collaboratively and to act conscientiously," Kansas Board of Regent member Mildred Edwards told the graduates and their family and friends.
"As we celebrate your significant achievement," she said, "we challenge you to commit yourself to the concept of civic responsibility and embrace the belief that each of us can truly make a difference."
Featured speaker John Morse, a WSU graduate in 1972 who earned the university's 2010 presidential medal award, told the graduates to remember the times they were in:
"Just to keep you fully engaged, we left you with an economic disaster that continues to linger; a staggering national debt; 7 billion fellow earthlings to feed, 1 billion of whom are currently under-nourished; a growing homeless population and a political system that does not work. Other than that and a hundred other social and political issues, we have left you with a bright future," Morse said as the audience laughed. "You are welcome."
He encouraged them to remember:
"Our university is providing you with skills that will allow you to achieve and succeed. I wish you all a happy and full life."
Hours after the ceremony ended, many of those graduates were already celebrating.
Kuhn was watching the Chiefs game.
That's not to short-shrift WSU or all the work the 21-year-old has done leading up to receiving his bachelor's degree on Sunday.
The degree, Kuhn said, "validates all the hard work I put in over the past four years. Wichita State gave me so much."
Case in point, he's a member of the Dean's Scholar Program, Student Ambassador Society, Student Government Association, Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, Emerging Professionals of Wichita, Sport Management Student Association, Emory Lindquist Honors Program and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
But the Chiefs game had him riveted.
He's keeping his future open, for now, with opportunities to work in scholarship sales for either the Chiefs, where he has interned in the past, or with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
"I will probably go with the Chiefs simply because I had a great experience while working there," he said. "I'd like to go back."
Bennett was simply grateful to receive her degree. Bennett overcame a stuttering impediment and plans to seek work as a speech and language pathologist. She has two interviews today.
"It means a lot to me because there was a time when I would not even consider a career or a job where the primary focus was communication," the 28-year-old from Mulvane said. "Until I went to graduate school, I would chose jobs that were data entry so I would not have to interact with customers, even to the extent of requesting not to have a phone on my desk.
"This is big for me. My life has taken a different turn."