Delisha Adams, a local middle school teacher, had kept all the details for completing her son's degree from Dillard University. The date was almost a year on her calendar. She had been in close contact with her son, Christian Thomas, to ensure that everything was in line with the academic dean and the financial aid office.
Then her son said Chance would be the rapper for the beginning  Adams was disbelieving. "I said," A rapper? I've paid all the money for your school days and need to listen to a rapper?
In response, her two sons gave her a random chance course, Chancellor Jonathan Bennett, who was born ̵
About an hour before Bennett spoke on Saturday, Ron Davalos, 21, took a moment to philosophize in front of the campus chapel when he wore a heavy silver William sutton medal around his neck and is awarded to three Dillard graduates who perform well both inside and outside the classroom.
Davalos felt very committed to Dillard, he said pay attention to each other. And at any time we can go to a professor and say, "I need help" and get it, "he said.
How could Davalos best describe his feelings as he set out on the time-honored tradition of descending Dillards Avenue? he said grinning.
He and classmate Alvin Harris had coined this term in one of their first business classes and meant "unbelievable luck," and it was left to them.
Bennett, 25 , also came with his own jargon, inserted into an initial style frame.As most of the speakers of the beginning, he started his speech with some "shout outs." He thanked the person who had invited him and gave him an honorary doctorate, his Friend Dillard President Walter Kimbrough.
Year Alumni class sits in the front row: "What are you, the class of & # 39; 68? You look like the class of & # 39; 78. "
He affirmed family and friends, including" all moms and grandmas "and the" young pretty aunts in the crowd. "
More than anything, he said, his voice rose to a shout," I want that Hypnotise class of 2018. This is your day. "
Social media reports of his speech Saturday made much of Bennett's announcement that Beyoncé, with her latest performance at the Coachella Music Festival in California, has now gone beyond singer-dancer Michael Jackson
But Bennett's deeper message came when He described Beyonce's mother, Tina Knowles, in Coachella. "While everyone else was totally impressed by what they saw, almost as if they were experiencing magic, Ms. Tina had a different face," he said. "It was an expression of satisfaction, as if one saw a seed they had planted in the flower."
That is the ultimate goal, he said: "I realized that we all have a responsibility to grow taller We have the responsibility not to be as good as them or to follow their example, but to even surpass them, even if it seems weird. "
He paused and joked "What's going on, dad? I'll be better than you."
Then he got serious again. "The highest respect we can give to the people who came before us, the people who sacrificed for us and gave us everything, is better than them," he said. "It would be almost an insult to the victim to just copy her."
Silently, throughout the audience, parents, family members, and alumni friends nodded in response, encouraging Bennett in his remarks.
Physicist Kelly Nash, a Dillard graduate herself, thought of her niece, Dominique Nash, who was named seniors' fair this year, even though her family had lost everything at her home in Lower 9th Ward after Hurricane Katrina.
A few rows behind Nash, Bennett's words fell home to Adams. Her son Christian struggled to find his step in college, but he took 21 credit hours last semester and received a full scholarship to attend graduate school at the University of Alabama.
Also for Bennett his Dillard speech was a success. After all, he was not allowed to go to his graduation party, he said. He did not record the reason, though it could have been a charge for marijuana possession, which led to his suspension in high school.
Indeed, Saturday marked the first time he ever attended college, he told the 2018 class. "I can not wait to see what you do for the world," he concluded. "Thank you for graduating."