Howard University held its 142nd commencement ceremonies on May 8 amid sunny skies and a stiff wind at the Upper Quadrangle on the school’s main campus.

Many luminaries attended the ceremony including former congressman and current NBC News Analyst Harold Ford Jr; former adviser to Pres. Clinton and Howard board member Vernon Jordan; and A. Barry Rand, CEO of AARP and chair of the university’s board.

But some notable names also were among the 1,800 students to receive degrees, including “CSI: New York” star and bestselling author Hill Harper, painter and art historian David Driskell, president of Ariel Investments Mellody Hobson, “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor all received honorary degrees during the ceremony.

The ceremony had special significance to Driskell, Harper and Roberts. Driskell is a Howard alum, Harper’s parents met at Howard Medical School and Roberts’ niece received her degree from the college of medicine during the ceremony.

Sotomayor and the other honorees urged students to dream big and pursue those dreams with tenacity. The students will surely face adversity, but Roberts said that with the three “Ds” of “determination, discipline and ‘deLord,’” they could overcome any roadblocks.

Sotomayor told graduates that “one of you is going to sit next to me on the bench…We don’t do anything alone…you are the future, come join me in making it.”