More than 3,000 graduates filed into Notre Dame Stadium Sunday for commencement ceremonies.
They heard from Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. Dolan received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree before giving the commencement speech. He encouraged each graduate to never forget the lessons learned from Notre Dame, including the importance of hard work and faith.
Sunday marked the beginning of a new chapter and the end of an old one for new graduates. Loved ones watched proudly from the stands.
"Cause it's so much joy that I made it this far and that I'm graduating from the University of Notre Dame. Before it was just a dream to me, and now it's actually a reality," said Veronica Galvez, who earned her Bachelor's in architecture.
In a sea of black caps and gowns, the architecture students stood out with their adorned caps. But as Cardinal Timothy Dolan explained in his commencement address, Notre Dame stands out in general.
"It's not the professors and courses as stellar as they are; it's not the campus as enchanting as it is or even the football team as legendary as it is or even the magnificent service projects. No, if you really want to discover the secret of Notre Dame, visit the Grotto," he said.
As they embark on their new careers, Dolan reminded graduates to let faith guide the way.
"Here, our goal is not just a career, but a call, not just a degree, but discipleship, not just what we've gotten, but what we're given, not just the now, but eternity, not just the I, but the we, not just the grades, but the gospel... We're not just minds and bodies, we're hearts and immortal souls. We're called not to some crapshoot called life, but to an adventure in fidelity that beckons us to cast out to the deep," he said.
"I love the message to go out and help those in need, so that's what with our degrees we plan to do, ya know use our talents that we learned here at Notre Dame and help others help the world," said graduate Katherine Gaston.
For many of these graduates, leaving Notre Dame is bittersweet... Even scary... But not with these words of comfort.
"Whatever happens in your life, you will always have a home at Notre Dame to renew your heart and refresh your spirit," said Dr. Thomas Burish, Provost of Notre Dame.