Broward College celebrated its 81st commencement ceremony in style by encouraging students to show off their fanciest footwear and individuality at their third annual GradSHOEation Wednesday, May 7, at 12:30 p.m., at the BB&T Center, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise.

The pre-ceremony celebration was created after Broward College administrators noticed shoes were becoming a big part of commencement and an even bigger topic of conversation after graduates marched across the stage.

Broward College President J. David Armstrong Jr., conferred nearly 2,527 associate’s degrees, 159 bachelor’s degrees and more than 900 technical certificates to students who represent 85 countries. The oldest graduate was 65 and the

youngest, 16. This year, the college awarded degrees to 150 graduates over the age of 50.

The keynote address was delivered by Fort Lauderdale lawyer Eugene K. Pettis, current president of the Florida Bar and co-founder of Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm. In 2013, Pettis became the first African-American president in the Bar’s history, and he currently leads the country’s second-largest Bar with membership exceeding 96,000 lawyers. He holds a bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Florida.

 This year’s event was accompanied by a shoe drive, allowing the 2014 graduating class to give back to the community. Collected shoes  were donated to In Jacob’s Shoes, a local organization that provides new and gently used shoes, school supplies and athletic equipment to economically disadvantaged youth.