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Friends and family looked for shelter as the students of the Class of 2001 braved the heavy showers on Monday morning, marking the University's 245th commencement. Despite a soggy Franklin Field, thousands of onlookers cheered for the graduates, refusing to let a little rain dampen their spirits. The University cancelled the student processional across campus in light of the dreary conditions, which was slightly disheartening. Seniors were robbed of their time honored tradition to walk side by side with their fellow classmates after four long years. In the midst of the unseasonal showers, the University unveiled its $200,000 renovations to Franklin Field for the commencement exercises. The rain masked any illusions of grandeur that were associated with the large scale project. Better luck next year. But it was the renown graduation speakers that helped compensate for the other shortcomings. Arizona Senator John McCain, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year, encouraged the students that the way to make a positive contribution was to be a leader, not a follower. What McCain says comes as no shock -- you have been hearing it since you got your first Penn T-shirt while you were in diapers. The school graduations also featured notable speakers, such as Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., Class of 1992 and Philadelphia Mayor John Street. President Judith Rodin, in her speech, emphasized that now it is time for the students to give back to their community. Seniors, your President has called on you to fullfill your duty. As adults entering the real world it is time to leave your mark. For the last four years, Penn has given you a place to call home and a lifetime of memories. Remain active alumni and do not forget us -- a few donations could not hurt either. So congratulations and best of luck to the Class of 2001. We hope your accomplishments will make future classes proud.

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