The cameras wore raincoats, but the graduates wore smiles as Northwestern University held its 152nd Commencement Friday evening just after a torrential downpour swept through Evanston.

The cameras wore raincoats, but the graduates wore smiles as Northwestern University held its 152nd Commencement Friday evening just after a torrential downpour swept through Evanston.

Commencement speaker Michael Wilbon, an NU alum and Washington Post sports columnist, told the graduates, “This is a competitive world you’re about to step into, but you enter it with the best weapon this culture can arm you with these days: a damn good education.”

(More of Wilbon’s speech, here.)

Journalism major Joyce Gar-Yun Lee, in her message to the class of 2010, attributed the class’s achievements to the support of family members, friends and partners who sat in the stadium.

The commencement ceremony signified a sweet triumph for Alicia Yamada and her family. She worked full-time while studying political science at Northwestern for 14 years before earning her undergraduate degree.

Yamada’s husband, Brian, and mother, Alice Hairai, beamed in their school-issued ponchos under the Ryan Field stands.

“Education is really important in Japanese culture. I’m very proud of her for sticking with it,” Hairai said.

Faculty watch the action.

Wendy Matheson, the associate university chaplain gave the benediction: “Go into the world striving for the highest order of excellence and live in hope despite all the evidence.”

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