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USF bids farewell to grads

Cameron Luther did not graduate from the University of South Florida on Saturday. He flipped his tassel back in 1993.

But Luther, 27, who was at the Sun Dome to watch friends graduate, did not look out of place.

The average age of the 4,000 students who will graduate this spring from the school's Tampa, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Fort Myers and Sarasota campuses is close to Luther's, says USF President Betty Castor. The youngest of those to walk the aisle is 19, and the oldest is 73.

Saturday afternoon's graduation from the main Tampa campus is the biggest of the ceremonies.

The commencement speaker was former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias Sanchez, who received the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in ending longtime warfare in Central America. In his speech, Sanchez urged the U.S. government to curtail sales of military weapons to help stop the spread of violence.

Perched in the aisle, Katina Sanders snapped off about 25 pictures of her sister, Michelle, receiving a degree in education. "You did it," Sanders screamed at her older sister, who looked up and flashed a smile. "You did it, baby!"

Luther, who said his South Florida spirit was reinvigorated by the beginning of football, skipped out before the ceremony concluded.

"Hey," he chuckled, "I did my time."