Troy University breaks in its new 40 million dollar arena with the first graduation ceremony at the new facility. On Friday, university officials called it a historic moment for the university and its graduates.
About 470 students received their diplomas at the new Trojan Arena. Many of them say they're excited to go down in history as the first class to graduate in the new facility.
It's a scene Troy University has played out hundreds of times with thousands of graduates-but Friday was different. That's because for the first time in 50 years, Troy's graduation ceremony was in a brand new building.
"We're excited about this arena and excited about the graduates and your experience. This will be a memory that you will hold dear forever, having been the first to have this experience," said Jack Hawkins, Chancellor of Troy University.
"It felt good. It felt accomplished," said Kimberly Nelson, who was receiving her masters. "It's a beautiful building. I never expected Troy to be so pretty, and it's very pretty, nice facilities," she said.
For graduates' friends and family members, the jumbo-size screens added an extra touch. Bernard Martin
"One thing about this gym is with the big screen TVs, it brings them up closer, you know, it brings them just live," said Bernard Martin, who was watching his daughter graduate.
"It feels like your very close to the graduates, so you have a more intimate deal when you're watching them walk across the stage and getting their diplomas," said Johnette Harris, who was there to see her cousin.
For the graduates themselves, there are bragging rights, too. "It's really exciting to be a part of that history in this beautiful building that a lot of people won't get to see or eve get to graduate in," said Kayla Rogers.
"It made it more special, just to know that it was our first time to be in there as the first class, it made it a lot more special," said Raven Garrett.
University officials say this class will have a chance to buy bricks printed with their names outside Trojan Arena to commemorate its first graduating class.