Ohio University seniors and graduate students received their degrees Friday and Saturday at The Convo.

Doctorate and master’s degree candidates were recognized Friday at 9:30 a.m.

Mike Sweeney, a journalism professor, was the commencement speaker for the graduate commencement.

Sweeney told the graduates that this speech could represent his last lecture because he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Because of this, he was not able to teach during Spring Semester.

Sweeney said that by being diagnosed with cancer, he has been able to look forward to every day because he doesn’t know how much longer he has to live.

“We should squeeze the juice out of every day,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney encouraged the graduates to live in the moment and to have specific moments tied into larger pictures.

Sweeney told the graduates the Bob Dylan line “you’re going to have to serve somebody.” He did this because he said that serving others is how to find true passion. 

Students from the Scripps College of Communication, the College of Fine Arts, University College, Regional Higher Education, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology and the College of Business walked at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Students from the Honors Tutorial College, the Center for International Studies, the Patton College of Education, the College of Health Sciences and Professions and the College of Arts and Sciences received their degrees Saturday at 2 p.m.

OU President Duane Nellis told graduates to “soak up this moment; bask in it. You deserve to feel proud of this day and what you have accomplished.”

Amal Afyouni, the student commencement speaker for the 9:30 a.m. ceremony, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology and criminology.

Afyouni introduced herself to graduates by using the ice breaker she learned from her professors: two truths and one lie. Her three statements were: “I share the same birthday with my two brothers, but we are not twins;” “it takes 26 hours to get to Athens from home;” and “I’m definitely not sad about graduation.”

Afyouni, who is from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, said her dad came to Athens in 1980, and the city became a second home to him. Now, it is her second home, too.

Afyouni, who said she was used to 100 degree weather, jokingly asked about Ohio’s weather.

“How can it go from 45 degrees to 80 degrees?” she said.

But with the Ohio weather, Afyouni remembered seeing leaves change colors in the fall for the first time in Athens. She remembered living through a snowstorm.

Afyouni said when traveling home, she runs into someone who notices her OU hat or OU sweatshirt. 

“Our Bobcat family is truly in every corner of the globe,” Afyouni said.

Alex Sheen, the commencement speaker, founder of “because I said I would” and OU alumni, told the graduates to frame this moment.

Sheen, who said he was invited to speak by a text message from Nellis, said that until the moment of college graduation, a person has guardrails that keep them on a certain path.

The movement “because I said I would” is about being reliable and keeping promises. Sheen said each graduate will receive 10 promise cards that are the physical symbol of keeping a promise.

“A handshake means something … because talk is cheap,” Sheen said.

Before the graduates’ names were announced, Nellis instructed them to stand and thank the people in the audience that have helped them.

“Today we honor you, your achievement, your commitment and your passion,” Nellis said.

Nellis finished by saying: “Ohio University will always be your home. You will always be Bobcats.”

The only step left for graduates is to join the Alumni Association, according to OU’s website.