For Lincoln University President Kevin Rome, Thursday was "Thanksgiving Day."
"Officially, we call this the Honors Convocation - but for me, it's "Thanksgiving,'" Rome explained in his address to students, family, friends and faculty in Mitchell Auditorium. "This is a very important event for Lincoln University, as it celebrates those who have excelled academically."
LU presented 282 awards to students during the convocation, with some students winning several honors.
Five scholarship grants also were awarded during the program.
Rome said he's thankful for the work of the faculty and staff helping LU's students learn, and for the families and friends supporting the students' academic work.
"No matter what else has been going on in your life, your education has been a priority - and it shows," Rome told the students.
Some of the honorees are student leaders involved in everything that Lincoln has to offer, Rome said, while others are balancing school with full-time jobs.
"Some of you are nourishing marriages, raising children and living your life - all while exceeding and excelling as students," he said.
"You are the Lincoln University our founders envisioned.
"Yours are the minds that the late intellectuals, such as Dr. Lorenzo Greene and his contemporaries, wished to feed when LU was known as the "Black Harvard of the Midwest.' We can invite serious students to attend Lincoln University, because you have set and met the standards of a true Lincolnite."
But, the president added, the students' work is not finished.
"To those being recognized today, I ask that you pay it forward," Rome said. "Continue to work hard and motivate your fellow students to do the same - because, as you rise, raise the others with you."
Colleges must be about academic success, Rome said.
"At the end of the day, it's about graduation," he said. "It's not just to go to college - it's to graduate from college, and that's what we're focused on."