As the nation's graduation rate tops 80 percent, the highest rate ever according to the America's Promise Alliance project GradNation, NMU added to that rate with its 2014 graduation ceremony on Saturday.
The graduates may have all looked the same in their matching caps and gowns, but each one is going to have a different part to play in the coming future. That was just one of the messages expressed at the ceremony.
Every graduate present chose NMU for a reason.
Some chose it for better education opportunities for the road ahead. Others chose it because it helped remind them of where they came from.
"I grew up in Muskeegon, Michigan, with my parents and grew up there right on the lake. Moved here to Marquette. Loved the lake so I had to be around another one." said one new NMU graduate.
Some graduates are the first in their family to graduate college, swelling familial pride even more. One proud grandparent says that this generation's economic advantages over the previous ones will only grant them more opportunities to succeed.
"When I was young, we didn't have any money to speak of and most of the boys joined the service in order to get a start in life. Nowadays, they seem to be able to afford to do more things and its great!" said grandfather Tom Peters.
At the same time, this celebration was tempered by reflection. Faculty and guest speakers alike asked the graduates not only to to acknowledge how far they themselves had come but also to acknowledge those who helped them get there, such as teachers and parents.
And while some graduates are most likely still figuring out their next move, others already have it mapped out.
"The next chapter'll probably be in the Midwest, hanging around here for a while, and eventually probably end up the west side of the country, somewhere...climbin' mountains or something" said the aforementioned NMU graduate.
The graduation commencement took place at 10:30 A.M. Saturday at NMU's Superior Dome.