▶ Watch Video: At least 7 dead after severe weather hits several states

A Western Kentucky University student died in storms lashing the state early Saturday, the day he was supposed to graduate, the university president said. The student, who was not named, died at his off-campus residence, said president Timothy Caboni.

Commencement ceremonies for December graduates were scheduled to take place on Saturday, but were canceled due to the severe weather.

“As the sun rises on our hill this morning, tremendous loss in our surrounding area is apparent,” Caboni said in a letter to the university community. “Our Housing and Residence Life teams have verified that there are no injuries or fatalities among our residential students, but I have recently been notified that one of our students — a young man set to graduate today — tragically passed away in the early morning storms at his off-campus residence.”

“Please take care of yourselves and your friends, and spend a little more time with those you love during the holiday break,” he wrote. “To our students traveling home soon: residence halls will not close today as we originally planned; take your time.”

The student’s death brings the total confirmed number of fatalities in storms and tornadoes that lashed Kentucky and the central United States to eight. Dozens more are feared dead in Kentucky alone. Tens of thousands across the state — and elsewhere — are without power.