MADISON (WKOW)-- Despite the winter storm thousands of friends and family members made it to this year's UW Winter commencement ceremony to cheer on the graduating class.
Outside of the Kohl Center the sights and sounds of street cleaners filled the air, but inside, Badger pride was loudly proclaimed as students paid little mind to the slick roads and snowy skies.
"I'd like to congratulate all of you who made it through the snow this morning. I wasn't quite clear how many people we'd have," UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank said during Sunday's ceremony.
Planning ahead was the name of the game. Many families arrived in Madison a day or two early to beat the storm.
"It's an unfortunate situation, but I'm fortunate enough that my family is just in Green Bay," graduating student Allison Williams says.
Other families weren't really worried about the weather at all.
"We have a four wheel drive truck so getting here wasn't too much of an issue. I know some people are having some problems," PhD recipient Bruce Bagley says.
Getting in and out of the Kohl Center for the commencement ceremony went as smoothly as it could have considering the weather. The university had extra crews clearing off the sidewalks in preparation for all the extra foot traffic. They also had shuttles bringing people to various parking lots across the downtown area.
For some families traveling half way across the world to see commencement, a winter storm was the least of their worries.
"They had to travel from China. So, they had to travel from Hong Kong and then to L.A. and then from L.A. to take another flight to Chicago. Then I drove to pick them up," commencement student speaker Da Yin says.
Now that it's over graduates will move on with the next phase of their lives. Some are starting careers, others simply waiting to figure out their passion in life.
"I don't know yet. I'm going to go sit on a beach in Florida for about a month and then I'll decide from there," Bagley chuckles.
University officials say nearly 1,200 students were signed up to graduate this semester. They're not sure how many actually showed up for the ceremony, but say the initial head count shows that a majority showed up.
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