TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Saturday was a day of celebration for over a thousand Indiana State students who got to walk across the stage to celebrate their graduation. 

The official number of diplomas handed out this semester is 1,644, according to the University. Of those, 1,181 were undergraduate students and 463 were graduate students. One of those graduate students was Bryon Anderson, who got his Masters degree and is set to work as a physician assistant following graduation. He summed up the feeling minutes after walking across the stage Saturday morning. 

“Just a lot of relief. There’s a lot of uncertainty going into these big investments of education, so to know that it’s all been completed and now it’s just checking boxes and getting done and going into the workforce, it’s a big load off the mind,” he said. “It’s truly surreal.”

Dr. Teirra Riggs, who just received her doctorate in health sciences, echoed those sentiments as she came to the end of a long road on Saturday.

“It is absolutely surreal. This is the end of my 18-year career education journey,” she said. “I started college at 18, 18 years later, I’m here with the highest degree you can get at a university, and I am overjoyed. There is no greater feeling than this, especially to be a first generation [graduate] and having my son here with me.”

Riggs expanded on how much it meant to her to get to this point as a first-gen student. 

“It shows that for me, anything is possible. I didn’t come from the greatest background, but tenacity is key, and if you have that awareness of self and it’s in your mind to do it, put it on paper. Write the vision, make it plain and go for it,” she said.