PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Rutgers University has graduated the largest class in school history.
School officials say the class of 2013 included an estimated 14,302 graduates from the university’s New Brunswick-Piscataway, Newark and Camden campuses.
But only a few thousand of them attended Sunday afternoon’s system-wide ceremony at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, which went on despite a steady rain.
Most Rutgers students will attend smaller graduation ceremonies with their schools and colleges this week, where they will pick up their degrees.
University President Robert Barchi presided over his first commencement and formally conferred all undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The commencement address was given by former state Supreme Court Justice Virginia Long, who graduated from Rutgers School of Law-Newark in 1966. She urged the graduates to become compassionate citizens and make something of their lives beyond making money.
The ceremony also pushed Rutgers over the half-billion degree mark. The university system has now awarded more than 513,000 degrees since Matthew Leydt took home its first degree in 1774 when the school was called Queens College.
Shortly after the ceremony ended, some students unfurled a large “Ashley will you marry me?” banner behind the end zone, drawing cheers from the crowd cheered.
Rutgers officials said they were trying to learn who unfurled the banner, who Ashley was and whether she said “yes.”
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