Coronavirus: Dolly Parton encourages ETSU graduates during virtual ceremony

The advice was the same, but the setting sure was different.

Country music legend Dolly Parton spoke to the graduates of East Tennessee State University by video Saturday afternoon as the school conducted a virtual commencement ceremony, WBIR reported. It was a surreal moment for graduates, who were forced to have their ceremony in a virtual setting because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Graduation speeches had the same optimistic tone but were delivered through video conferencing.

"I'm really sorry that your special day of celebration has to be on video, but each of you have a lot to be grateful for and to be proud of," Parton said in the video, which the university shared on Twitter. "You've achieved a very important milestone in your life, and every one of you have a great future."

In her 70-second video, Parton, 74, encouraged graduates to be strong, assuring them that "we're going to get to be better than ever" after emerging from the challenges created by the pandemic, WVLT reported.

“That’s the thing about life though, you’ll have great times and you’ll also have some challenges,” Parton said. “Just try to make the best out of it, make it work.”

ETSU conferred more than 2,200 degrees during Saturday's virtual ceremony, WJHL reported.

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