As Linda Thomas Bentley (BA ’10) comforts her son, JJ (approx. ’34), other graduates wave, text, or call to broadcast their location in the sea of blue and black. In April an estimated 6,147 students, from 49 U.S. states and 68 countries, received degrees. About 56 percent of them were married, and many graduated with children.

The first day of winter semester, Linda texted her husband, Jeremiah W. Bentley (’10), who was in a statistics class, to let him know she was going into labor. Life changed for these students: Jeremy learned to study in the middle of the night, holding a baby, a bottle, and a textbook; and one day, when she had a paper due, Linda says, “I know I had some divine help because JJ took the longest nap of his life.” During commencement the Bentleys took turns hiking the stairs of the Marriott Center to feed and diaper their 4-month-old. | Photography: Bradley Slade