MADISON, Wis. - Men and women walked into Camp Randall for the last time Saturday as student, and walked out alumni.
"It's my dream come true. I'm so excited to start my life. This school has done everything for me," graduate Jordan Coff said.
Hopeful graduates did not walk the stage this year. For the first time in over 25 years, students gathered on the field of Camp Randall to enter into the next stage of life the same way they started college, together.
"I feel like it's just come around full circle for me. This is where I fell in love with the University of Wisconsin and this is how I'm leaving it, and it's just so meaningful," Coff said.
Coff's reaction to the ceremony is the response university officials were hoping for when they decided to change the format of the 2014 graduation.
"I think most importantly, the students and family of the students, I think they had a wonderful time. It was a very special moment," said Vince Sweeney, UW vice chancellor of University Relations.
UW held separate graduations for each area of study in the past due to class size; however, Sweeney said after decades of using that format, it was time to bring the ceremony back to its roots.
"We think bringing the entire class together in one special hour and a half really is a special time for everyone, every member of that class. From all corners of campus, all areas of study; it's really special to come together as one class," Sweeney said.
Graduates said they hardly missed the traditional walk across the stage, but instead jumped at the chance to participate in a different UW tradition.
"I think they did a great job emulating that, and recognizing every school. Really, doing 'Jump Around' made up for it I think," graduate Kristen Groth said.
The university decided to play the song "Jump Around" to accommodate students' requests. University officials said after Saturday's success, they plan to continue to hold graduation ceremonies at Camp Randall going forward.
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