A local TV news anchor with a family connection to Delaware State University was the keynote speaker at its first-ever virtual commencement Saturday, forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Ukee Washington told the class of 2020 to expect some struggles in life, but to enjoy the journey.

"Because mark my words, throughout the rest of your life, you will point to your days at Delaware State University as the foundation of the success in your life you are destined to achieve," said Washington.

Saying he's a Hornet at heart, Washington, who attended the University of Richmond, talked about his connection to DSU.

"You see, my sister and I grew up on the campus; my father, Dr. Ulysses S. Washington, Jr., was a professor of agriculture and natural resources; my mother taught biology here.  Then, the family moved to Philadelphia in 1962," said Washington.

Even after the Philadelphia move, Washington's and his father's days in Dover weren't finished.

"You may have noticed, during your time here, the little white cottage between Conrad Hall, the old dining hall, and the baseball field, yep--that's where I grew up between 7th and 12th grade...that was my school of hard knocks," said Washington.

Washington said the new graduates will be part of the solution to COVID-19 and the other challenges we face, and he reminded them to make the most of life's journey.

"Surround yourselves with family and friends--six feet apart, for now...family, friends and soon-to-be coworkers that have the same vision as you.  Those who want to grow strong and tall, together," said Washington.

Washington's father and namesake, Dr. Ulysses Washington, began his Del State career in 1949 and retired in 1992.