Thousands of graduating students at Virginia Tech in the eastern United States paused Friday to remember the 32 people killed in a shooting rampage by a fellow student.

Photos of the 27 students and five faculty members appeared on a giant screen during the graduation ceremony, held a month after Seung-Hui Cho gunned them down in two university buildings before killing himself. 

School officials handed out class rings to the families of the victims.  Virginia Tech's president said the school wanted to "pay tribute to those innocent and beautiful young minds."

Retired U.S. Army General John Abizaid, the former commander of U.S. military forces in the Middle East, told the graduates in his keynote speech they had a responsibility to carry on "the dreams and aspirations" of their lost classmates.

The students killed by Cho, 18 undergraduates and nine graduate students, have been awarded posthumous degrees.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.