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On April 30, the Pittsburgh campus conferred some 6,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees in a celebrated rite of passage—spring commencement.

Graduates, their families and friends,faculty, alumni, staff, and other guests gathered at the Petersen Events Center for an age-old ritual that reflects the dress and customs of 11th- and 12th-century medieval universities—a pageant of colors and symbols.

Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin delivered the commencement address and received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and Provost James Maher.

Another 1,000 undergraduates received degrees from the Bradford, Greensburg, Johnstown, and Titusville campuses in similar graduation observances.

Each year, this occasion honors the mastery of a set of knowledge and skills, but it also marks an emerging future, new beginnings. Here, a 2006 graduate, law student Elizabeth Shackelford, expresses the ageless sentiments of the day.

(Photograph by Jim Burke, CIDDE)

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