LSU graduated its largest class in history Friday at the 298th commencement exercises.

A record 4,442 degrees were awarded. The overall class of 2019 had 7,047 degrees, including students receiving degrees in summer and fall commencements combined.

“You are needed to make the world a better place. You have the tools, the skills, and the talent to do so, and the benefits you reap can impact not only your own life, but have a ripple effect around the globe,” LSU President F. King Alexander told to the graduates.

The class of 2019 also was the most diverse. LSU awarded the most degrees ever to female students, 3,826; African-American students with 766 degrees; Hispanic students, 418 degrees; and Asian students, 271 degrees.

In her keynote address, Professor Gabriela González told the graduates about an important lesson she learned during her time at college: set ambitious goals and work hard, but be flexible and recognize new talents and new opportunities as they arise.

“The results are often better than your original goal, and most importantly, you will be happier when you follow the new path that opens before you, not necessarily the straight path that you started walking,” González said. “And being happy with your own decisions should be your standard – this is going to be the key to your success.”

Stewart Lockett, outgoing student body president, remembered moments from his and his classmates’ time at LSU, including their first class in the basement of Lockett Hall, first game in Tiger Stadium, first finals week, the first day of spring in the LSU Quad, and saying goodbye to Mike VI and hello to Mike VII.

“And today, when you turn your tassel, know that LSU will remember you as well. We’ve all played a part in contributing to the story that is LSU,” Lockett said.

LSU’s May 2019 graduating class represents 57 Louisiana parishes, 49 U.S. states and 63 foreign countries. Women made up 55.56 percent of the class, and men made up 44.44 percent. The oldest graduate is 72, and the youngest is 19.

The 4,442 total graduates are made up of 3,405 students who received bachelor’s degrees; 712 who received master’s degrees; 79 who received education specialist or graduate certificates; 113 who received a Ph.D.; 17 who received a Doctor of Musical Arts degree; and 83 who received Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; and 33 who received a post-bachelorette certificate.

Also, 29 LSU employees were among those who received degrees this spring.

Follow Mark Ballard on Twitter, @MarkBallardCnb.