Updated:ATLANTA - Nearly 4,000 students graduated Monday from Emory University, sharing the spotlight with several famous figures, including Dr. Joseph Lowery and Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The two received honorary degrees.
For the first time in months since being hospitalized, Lowery appeared before thousands of people at Emory University's commencement Monday morning.
Lowery sat in a wheelchair but, with the help of a walker, stood to receive an honorary Doctor of Divinity.
"Inspired by a radical message of love and freedom, peace and humility, you have devoted your life to building your beloved community," said Emory University president James Wagner.
Calling him one of God's trombones, the university and students say the Civil Rights leader fills them with inspiration.
"He is a Godly man and a peaceful man," said one Emory graduate. "He represents a sense of unity."
In the spirit of community service, keynote speaker Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked students to put down their mirrors and focus on someone else.
"Tear down that mirror and you will be able to look beyond and you will see the millions and millions of people who need your help," said Schwarzenegger.
With humor and honesty, Schwarzenegger used his life story to motivate students to pursue their dreams. Himself a body builder, actor and now a governor – all things he was told he would never accomplish, he said.
"Trust yourself. Break some rules. Don't be afraid to fail. Ignore the naysayers," said Schwarzenegger.
One graduate said he was inspired to make today a beginning.
"(I'm going to) move on from this point and make better times," said Emory graduate Jacob Willis. "(I'm going to) make good decisions. That's what I'm going to try to do."