College Students Wait In Line To Hug Beloved Campus Security Guard At Graduation

Valerie Baxter has been a fixture at High Point University for 12 years. A campus security guard at a North Carolina university is making headlines after a video of her hugging members of this year’s graduating class went viral. Footage of students lining up to embrace beloved campus security guard Valerie Baxter, 63, during High Point University’s 2023 Commencement took the internet by storm earlier this month, culminating in a surprise appearance on Today.

“I show up. I just show up,” Ms. Val explained to co-hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager last week. “And I let God do the driving.” The video shows Baxter wiping away tears, exchanging “goodbyes,” and patting her hand on her heart as students head to their seats ahead of the May 6 ceremony. “I get back what I give out,” she explained. “I like to show them love, and that no matter what it is, it’s going to be OK.”

“It was just an amazing moment,” Baxter later recalled to Fox News. “The minute the first student came over to hug me, my heart got so full and I could not cut off the tears. And then they all started coming over.” Baxter, who has worked at the university for 12 years, added that she didn’t realize she was being recorded.”We hugged the whole four years they were here, not just on graduation day,” she noted.

Baxter, who has a daughter of her own, loves every “kid” she meets over the years, but she admitted that the class of 2023 holds a special spot in her heart. “This particular class was one of the most touching because they came right in the midst of Covid…in 2020. So 2023 was their first real year to be out,” she told Today. “They persevered and they kept coming and the campus transformed beyond my wildest dreams. I saw the campus transform to accommodate these kids and keep them there the entire four years and it was amazing.”

Speaking with Greensboro News & Record, Baxter revealed that she’s never had a bad day on campus.“I practice getting past the moment,” she explained. “You know that old saying about if the glass is half empty or half full? Just learn to be grateful for the glass. It’s up to us whether it stays full or stays empty.”