SEATTLE, Wash. - Graduation celebrations are underway at Seattle Pacific University this weekend. They come a little more than one week after the deadly shooting that stunned the private Christian university community.
An age-old tradition took on a new meaning at Seattle Pacific University. For many of the 900 graduating seniors, the long strand of ivy cut during a special ceremony represents their connection to SPU and its ideals. But now it's also a reminder of how the campus came together in the face of tragedy.
“It just makes you a lot more reflective and really appreciate the people around you," said Wesley Anderson.
President Daniel Martin opened the traditional ivy cutting ceremony and spoke about grieving after last week's shooting on campus that left one student dead and two others injured.
Martin also commended senior Jon Meis, who was somewhere in the crowd. "We give thanks to those among us who acted selflessly and bravely,” said Martin.
Faculty cut and handed sprigs of ivy to every graduate.
“It's very emotional because you want to be sad, you want to be happy, but I know God just blessed us with all this; brought us together," said Claudia Mosqueia. Jerrell Davis displayed a poem on his cap about responding to triumph and disaster the same way. “So I think SPU's community has shown a lot of resiliency coming together at this time, and for me it's inspiring and makes the ceremony more impactful," said Davis.
The graduation ceremony takes place Saturday at 1 p.m. at Key Arena.