Fresno State President John Welty opened his final commencement ceremony with a few jokes Saturday morning. "This is a special commencement," Dr. Welty said. "I am graduating with you this morning."
He graduated alongside the 1,200 students who dressed in cap and gowns, proudly displaying their ties to campus organizations and their classroom achievements.
The day is extra special for the O'Rourke family. "It gets me very excited that I get to do it with my dad," said Megan O'Rourke who will receive an undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts. "My dad and I are very similar when it comes to school, so I always looked up to him. So to be able to, like, walk with my dad is a big deal."
"It's very special for us to be here with my daughter and for myself," Bob O'Rourke said. "And then Dr. Welty's last ceremony after 22 years, he's done some wonderful things for the school and the campus."
This is a special time and a better time for graduates this year. Unemployment around the state is down year to year. The head of Fresno State's Career Services Department says more jobs are available for graduates, but the market is still extremely competitive.
"The job seeker needs to make sure they are marketing themselves very well for the positions they're interested in," said Rita Bocchinfuso-Cohen. "Use the resources that are available to you."
Despite slashed budgets Dr. Welty says his students are getting a quality education. In a recent one-on-one interview with Action News anchor Warren Armstrong Welty said his predecessor has an exciting and challenging road ahead.
"There is going to be a pretty good change that is going to occur across higher education," Welty said. "I think the person that comes in will have to lead that change and that won't be easy."