Family and friends gathered Saturday morning to celebrate 270 students as they walked across the stage at the 2016 commencement ceremony of Transylvania University.
During the ceremony, a posthumous degree was awarded to Mary Katherine Stewart, known by most as Katie. Stewart died in March when she fell from an overlook at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary. Her mother accepted the degree.
Kevin Moore, a graduating religious studies major with a minor in history, gave the student commencement speech. He spoke to his fellow graduates about the many changes the university has seen during the graduates’ time at the school, including new buildings and changes in the administration.
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Moore said the school’s motto, “In that light, we pass on the light,” could be seen all over campus, including in the smile of Stewart.
“I knew Katie as a barista down at Cup of Common Wealth just off of Short Street,” Mayor Jim Gray said during his commencement address. “Her friends there and her colleagues there described her just this morning as bubbly and vivacious and full of life.”