About 20 years ago, Mark Vadon participated in his college commencement and had no idea what he would do after he graduated.
His only plan was to move to San Francisco with his then-girlfriend.
Vadon, who didn't take a single business class in college, went on to found Blue Nile, an online jewelry retailer, in 1999 and co-found zulily, an online retailer of children's products, 10 years later.
Vadon delivered Tiffin University's afternoon commencement ceremony's keynote address Saturday.
Nearly 375 graduates who completed associate of arts, bachelor of arts, associate of business administration, bachelor of business administration, associate of criminal justice and bachelor of criminal justice degrees were honored during the ceremony.
Vadon told graduates plans they have for their future probably are not going to unfold as they see them.
By 1999, he had started thinking about starting his own business. After shopping for an engagement ring in a store, he researched on the Internet and found a website that contained information about how to buy a diamond.
He said he had a great experience when he purchased a ring online.
"It seemed pretty risky, but I quit my job," he said.
Vadon started Blue Nile, which he said is the largest seller of jewelry on the Internet in the world, and it became profitable in 2001.
Vadon told graduates to imagine the future they want to have and encouraged them to have great expectations for themselves and set the bar high. He said whatever their dreams are, they should recognize, articulate and follow them.
"Don't let them just be dreams," he said.
Leebo Pomele, who is returning to California, was among the graduates who completed a bachelor's degree in communication. He wore a lei decorated with money around his neck during commencement, which was a symbol of honor from his Polynesian culture.
Pomele, a first-generation college graduate, said his family presented him with the lei before graduation.
"They brought a couple of them with them," he said.
Pomele said he met wonderful people during his TU experience.
"It was great," he said.
For the first time, TU officials selected two graduates to receive the student leadership award. William Jackson, who received a cyber defense and information security degree, and Ryan Webb, who received a computer and information technology degree, both from Detroit, were honored.
Jeremy Lee, who completed a degree in homeland security/terrorism and law enforcement, was selected to receive the scholar-athlete award, and Melanie Parsons, who completed an accounting degree, was selected for the dean's award.