384 at Spring Commencement
View webcast of Commencment
U.S. Sen. John Edwards
issued UNC Pembroke graduates one final assignment "to confront
the bigotry and hatred we have yet to purge from this country."
The first-term senator,
who launched a bid for the presidency in January, said civility and
passivity are allies of hatred and racial bigotry, and that "silence
"We turn our
backs daily from small battlegrounds," Sen. Edwards said. "You
-and we - have an obligation to stand against the forces of intolerance
that deny opportunity to others. You - and we - have an obligation to
confront hatred and state clearly that it will no longer be tolerated."
Sen. Edwards was
the keynote speaker Saturday, May 10 for commencement
ceremonies that saw 384 graduate, 61 with master's degrees. It was the
largest Spring Commencement in the history of a rapidly growing university.
The North Carolina
born and bred Edwards said the years following graduation should not
be years of "blind ambition," but "blind compassion."
you burn on this journey will not depend on what you do for yourselves,"
he said. "It will depend, I am certain, on what you do for others,
on how you treat others, and on how you permit others to be treated
in your presence."
is injustice, there is your battleground," he concluded. "Where
there is misery, there is your battleground."
"I know you
can, because 116 years ago, your forefathers, the founding fathers of
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, acted and made a difference,"
Sen. Edwards said.
Edwards with UNC President Molly Broad
In a press conference
before Commencement, Sen. Edwards said he is "very encouraged"
about his campaign for the presidency.
The Robbins, N.C.,
native, who is the first member of his family to graduate from college,
sidestepped foreign policy questions to focus on domestic issues - social
"We have work
to do in North Carolina, particularly in some parts," Sen. Edwards
said about Southeastern North Carolina. "The first thing we have
to do is rebuild the economy of this country. We must energize the economy."
Sen. Edwards also
proposed a "College for Everyone" program to ensure that every
young American can attend college.
On a sweltering
Saturday morning with a standing-room-only crowd in the Main Gym of
the Jones Athletic Complex, Chancellor Allen C. Meadors bid farewell
to a class that enrolled at UNCP the same year he arrived on campus.
"We share a
special bond as many of you began your journeys here at The University
of North Carolina at Pembroke four years ago when I became chancellor
of this fine institution," Chancellor Meadors said. "During
the past four years, UNC Pembroke has become the fastest growing university
in North Carolina, and each of you are fully prepared for your futures
as UNCP graduates."
each of you to claim your dreams and goals as your own," he said.
UNC President Molly
Broad offered praise for enrollment growth and high quality instruction
at UNCP, but added a cautionary note.
is a university on the rise with an outstanding faculty and a growing
commitment to the region," President Broad said. "In the face
of remarkable growth, we face unrelenting rounds of budget cuts that
now place the birthright of every North Carolinian in jeopardy. That
birthright is to obtain a high quality, affordable education."
called upon legislators and the people of North Carolina to find the
courage to make the right choices for the future of the state.
Dr. Ruth Dial Woods
of Pembroke brought greetings from the UNC Board of Governors, Henry
Lewis from the UNCP Board of Trustees, Dr. Thomas Dooling from the faculty,
Hal Sargent II from the Alumni Association and Koji Sado from the Student
Four outgoing UNCP
Trustees were recognized by Chancellor Meadors: Roger Oxendine of Rowland,
Dr. Cheryl Locklear of Pembroke, McDuffie Cummings of Pembroke and Lewis,
who is from Lumberton.
to University Newswire