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Tassels Turned

More than 5,200 NC State students capped their college careers Saturday.

The university held its spring commencement ceremony Saturday morning at PNC Arena. NC State football legend Philip Rivers addressed the graduates and thousands of their friends and family members.

Rivers, who now plays quarterback for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League, recalled the uncertainty he felt at his own graduation. He also challenged the graduates to fill their post-collegiate years with purpose.

“I knew as long as I stay focused on my priorities, I would be ready for life’s ups and downs,” said Rivers, who holds many school and Atlantic Coast Conference football records. “What are your priorities? What is the foundation on which you will build your future?”

Since his December 2003 graduation, Rivers has been a success on and off the football field. He is a four-time Pro Bowl quarterback. In 2010, he founded the Rivers of Hope Foundation, which works to support orphaned and abandoned children and help them find homes.

NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson conferred 5,236 degrees on Saturday – 67 associate’s, 3,500 bachelor’s, 1,398 master’s, 195 doctoral, and 76 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees. He also recognized 124 valedictorians for earning perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

With the 3,041 degrees NC State conferred last December, the university awarded a total of 8,022 degrees in the 2011-12 academic year.

Woodson also conferred honorary degrees on Robert B. Jordan III, former North Carolina lieutenant governor and NC State alumnus, and David H. Murdock, chairman of Dole Food Company Inc.