Back in 1965 he was on the other end of this handshake, receiving his political science degree from Gulf Coast.
Now he's handing out diplomas for the last time, and offering age-old advice to the graduates.
Dr. Robert McSpadden, GCCC President, said, "I would hope they continue in college. I would hope they come back and help make this community a better place. I would hope some come back to GCCC working. It is a fine college and I will say that when I'm not employed there."
Dr. Robert McSpadden is retiring as president after more than 20 years at Gulf Coast. About 400 students received their degrees, and about 2,500 people were there to cheer them on.
As these students leave their final mark at the college, so does Dr. McSpadden, and he says he has no regrets.
"It has been a wonderful way to live. If I had to do it all over again I would not change a thing."
Although an official search for a new president hasn't begun, Gulf Coast did just hire a consultant to help guide them through the search process.