JOPLIN, Mo. — Missouri Southern is celebrating their graduates this weekend.

Two different ceremonies happened on campus, inside the “Leggett and Platt Athletic Center”.

This year marks the 80th commencement at MSSU.

University officials say over 600 students are walking across the stage this time.

University President, Dr. Dean Van Galen, says this is the time to celebrate all of the hard work of the students.

“It’s an exciting day here at Missouri Southern. This is our 80th Commencement ceremony. We are graduating over 600 new graduates at the associates, bachelors, and masters level. It’s just wonderful to celebrate their success, see their families and friends witness this milestone in their lives,” said Dr. Dean Van Galen, MSSU President.

“This a start to a whole new life. Like we get to start our careers now and I’m personally so excited about it. I mean I’ve learned so much at Southern through my classes and just through all the experience. Like this, it’s a smaller school for me, but the hands-on experience, the teachers really know who you are and they want to push you to be the best they can,” said Riley Laver, MSSU graduate, international business.

Laver says one of the things that stood out to her throughout her tenure at MSSU is no matter what she did, she was never alone, and always had support from professors and her colleagues.