AUSTIN -- Friday and Saturday each college at the University ofTexasheld its own ceremony to honor 8,000 graduates individually. Saturday evening, theycame together for the formal commencement.

Crews spent the day making sure all the chairs were in place and the stage was ready for the 129th spring graduation. The speaker at Saturday night's ceremony was former U.S. Secretary of Defense and former A&M University president Robert Gates.

KVUE spoke with UT president Bill Powers about the significance of Saturday night's ceremony.

Graduation is the most important day of the year, Powers said. It's a day when these students go out into the world. You know the economy is coming back some, but still has a ways to go, but these students are so well prepared. I would say to them, 'you are prepared for a lifetime.'

Powers and Gates spoke more encouraging words to the graduates during the ceremony,followedby the grand finale -- a fireworks show over the tower.

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