Emotions pour out at UNC Charlotte graduation ceremonies

It's been 10 days since the deadly shooting at UNC Charlotte, and on Friday, a welcome bit of normalcy came for students as graduation ceremonies began.

For everyone there it was a rollercoaster of emotions. The chancellor said the day was a delicate balance of remembrance and also celebration.

Commencement bands and collegiate cheers later turned to silence in Halton Arena.

“I ask you join me in a moment of silence in memory of Riley and Reed,” Chancellor Philip DuBois said at the ceremony.

The UNC Charlotte community took time to honor the students who will never walk across this stage. Less than two weeks ago students Riley Howell and Reed Parlier were shot and killed by a gunman who opened fire a Kennedy Hall Classroom.

“I got goosebumps,” said father Bob Edmonds. “They recognize the world isn’t as safe as they thought it was.”

Edmonds signaled a heart in the crowd as his daughter Alison walked across the stage. She’s one of the 3,500 green capped graduates now united by the tragedy.

On Friday ceremony-goers saw security stepped up, but things took a touching turn when a tribute to the slain students.

The university announced an anonymous couple, two former teachers, fully funded permanently endowed scholarships, totaling $1 million, in memory of Riley and Reed.

The school says they will be working closely with Riley and Reed’s parents to make sure each scholarship criteria honors exactly who their sons were. Graduation ceremonies will continue throughout the weekend. We know it’s going to be rainy but just a reminder, no umbrellas are allowed inside the arena.

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