Degrees were awarded to hundreds of graduates at Maine college commencement ceremonies Saturday.

The University of Maine School of Law handed out doctoral law degrees to 96 students and master of law degrees to six students. U.S. Sen. Angus King, a political independent and former Maine governor, delivered a speech to the graduates at Merrill Auditorium in Portland.

King, who originally moved to Maine to work as a staff attorney for Pine Tree Legal Assistance in Skowhegan, encouraged the graduates to take more risks and not be afraid to fail, the Associated Press reported.

Meanwhile, more than 800 Husson University students received undergraduate and graduate degrees, the largest number of degrees awarded by the Bangor university at a commencement ceremony since it was founded in 1898.

The keynote speaker at the ceremony, at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, was Mary Prybylo, president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph Healthcare/St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor.

At the University of New England graduation at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, 1,374 graduates received bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees.

Gregory Powell, chief executive officer and president at Dexter Enterprises Inc. and chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation, was the speaker at the Biddeford university’s 179th commencement.

Not all University of Maine at Farmington graduates received art degrees Saturday, said commencement speaker Richard Ford, but all should approach their degree as an art form, and not a “ticket to a profession.”

“Make something useful and beautiful out of it, just like an artist does,” said Ford, a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist from East Boothbay.

Ford addressed a packed house of graduates, along with relatives and friends, at the graduation at the university’s recreation center. The university expects to award 456 diplomas this year to undergraduate and master’s degree candidates.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was the keynote speaker at Kennebec Valley Community College’s commencement ceremony. About 400 graduates at the Fairfield college received degrees at the ceremony, held at the Augusta Civic Center.

Collins said the school has “opened the doors of opportunity” since its first graduation ceremony 44 years ago.

“Some of you came here directly from high school; others came here from the workforce. You might be the first in your families to earn college degrees. Perhaps you are going on to a four-year college,” Collins said. “Whichever category you fall into, you are here today because you all have demonstrated a determination to secure a bright future.”

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