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FAU graduation redux outside

Thousands of students in cap and gown walked across a platform stage under the scoreboard. Names read. Diplomas conferred.

With congratulations from president John Kelly, Florida Atlantic University brought graduation back to life Thursday, including his famous selfie splurge.

Instead of the usual indoor auditorium, 1,200 students in the 9 a.m. and 1,000 in the 5 p.m. ceremonies assembled on folding chairs on the field in FAU Stadium April 29.

Families and guests sat socially distanced in the stands. And the weather cooperated. No rain. “I worked really hard, and they were still taking precautions. It was hot, but still worth it,” Christina Kalayil, 24, who graduated with a masters degree in social work, said afterward.

This was FAU’s first in-person graduation since the fall 2019 semester. The school’s well-known diversity was apparent by the calling of each name. Some 53 countries were represented.

Statistics for the spring graduating class include the oldest at 71 and the youngest at 17, Kevin Figueroa and Rebecca Dume. They were among dual-enrolled FAU High School students who received their bachelor’s degrees before their high school diplomas on May 14. The others are Ainsley Blackwood, Nicole Nudelman and Xiyan Wu.

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