UNT's newest graduates celebrated their milestone at the spring commencement ceremonies, which included replacing the traditional recessional with a finale celebration that featured a UNT beach ball drop and hat toss.
About 2,600 students received bachelor's and master's degrees and about 70 doctoral candidates were hooded during the ceremonies May 11-12.
In addition, about 155 students received diplomas at the commencement ceremony for UNT's Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science.
Shannon Greene, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in interior design from the School of Visual Arts, said the chance to hear her name and walk across the stage made the experience more special to her - rather than going to a single centralized ceremony, as in the past.
"Everyone gets recognized when they do it by school," she said.
Other graduates also appreciated some of this year's commencement changes.
"I loved the beach ball drop. It was fun," said Jamie Newell, who earned her master's degree in education and who also said she was pleased to receive a lapel pin replica of the UNT seal when she was handed her degree.
Amanda Stouffer, who earned a master's degree in merchandising, also liked the addition of the beach ball drop. "In the past, it's been very low-key, and when you graduate it should be a big celebration," she said.
The ceremonies also incorporated the newly designed doctoral hooding and three smaller centralized ceremonies that began with the December 2006 exercises.
"Graduate students strengthen the mission of the university and contribute to the quality of undergraduate education," Gary S. Krahenbuhl, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, told graduates at Friday's doctoral commencement and hooding ceremony. "They are our leaders."
Several new graduates said they liked having a separate ceremony just for doctoral graduates.
"I would not have walked (in the ceremony) if I had to sit through the degrees being given to undergraduates and master's students," said Pamela Neblett, who received a doctor of education degree in educational administration.
Cassie Cook Thomas, who received her doctor of audiology degree, said the ceremony "had a more intimate feel for the doctoral candidates."