(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) It was a day of celebration on Saturday as Missouri Western State University held their 2017 Winter Commencement ceremony.
This year, roughly 320 students graduated from the university. The ceremony took place in the arena at Looney Complex from 11 a.m. until about 12:30 p.m.
The commencement speaker was Biology Professor Dr. Mark Mills, who surprised students with a special guest during his speech.
Dr. Mills brought out a snake on stage to demonstrate to students and audience members why he feels the hands-on learning opportunities Western provides is what makes the university so unique.
"This is a transitional point in your lives. Go out there and make a difference," Dr. Mills said during his commencement speech. "This is the first day of the rest of your lives. These are our good ole days. May the force be with you."
The graduation ceremony was followed by a reception for the new graduates and their families that was hosted by the MWSU Alumni Association.