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FULTON - Nearly 400 students from William Woods University graduated Saturday afternoon.

Different commencement ceremonies for undergraduate and graduate students were spread out throughout the day. Family and friends packed into the McNutt Campus Center to watch the graduates receive their diplomas. 

Director and professor of the Texas Obesity Research Center, Dr. Marc Hamilton, gave the commencement address. According to a news release from the university, Hamilton is a pioneer in an up-and-coming area of research known as "inactivity physiology."

At the end of the commencement ceremony, William Woods President Jahnae Barnett imparted final words of wisdom on graduates and offered tips on how to be happy and successful as they move into the next phase of their lives.

For some members of the Class of 2018, Saturday was bittersweet.

"I just made so many memories. It's kind of like a built a family here," said Olivia Cline, who majored in American Sign Language interpretation. "I am excited to be done and starting my career."

For Cline, there is little time to rest before she starts her next chapter. Next week, she starts a full-time job at Beyond Interpreting in Kansas City.

"The next step is to take performance exam to get certified and work as an interpreter," Cline said. "That's the dream. I am excited, and I can't wait to start."

While Cline's time at William Woods has come to an end, others on the William Woods campus are just starting theirs. Cline offered some advice to them.

"Keep going, try and get involved in everything you can," Cline said. "Travel with William Woods, do everything you can because this is the moment you make all of your memories here."

(Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of the university. This error has been corrected.)

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