University commencement is historic
From Summer Staff Reports
Front of Old Main
A total of 673 students were graduated from UNCP May 6-7.
The occasion, presided over by Chancellor Kyle Carter, marked a milestone in UNCP history with separate commencements at new times and locations. The large number of students being graduated necessitated the split into two events.
Undergraduates. The undergraduate ceremony for 510 students was held outdoors under good weather on the historic green Quad between Old Main and the Mary Livermore Library at 9 a.m. May 7. The Quad has been called UNCP's most historic place.
Dr. Carter and UNCP Provost Kenneth Kitts addressed the thousands of students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, family members and friends at commencement.
Graduate students. The graduate school commencement for 163 students was held in the Paul R. Givens Performing Arts Center (GPAC) at 7 p.m. May 6.
The keynote speaker for the graduate school commencement was former UNCP chancellor and provost, Dr. Charles R. Jenkins, who currently serves as clinical professor in the Department of School Administration and Counseling in the School of Education. Dr. Jenkins has served the University in various administrative and faculty roles for 40 years, including more than 14 years as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs and one year as interim chancellor in 2009-2010.
Large audiences. All told, more than 5,500 family members and friends watched as degrees were awarded to the graduate and undergraduate students on Friday night and Saturday morning.
"This is truly a glorious day," Chancellor Carter told the undergraduate audience. "This is the first time we have held commencement here adjacent to our most historic building, Old Main. This is a place worthy of commencement because it reminds us of our glorious history."
Heritage. In delivering his charge to the graduates, the chancellor reminded them UNCP was founded by American Indians who believed that education would improve the lives of their people.
"It is my charge to you to carry on UNCP's tradition as an institution founded to improve lives," Dr. Carter said. "Upon graduation, contribute to something beyond yourself. All of you can make a difference in the lives of others."
Diversity. Dr. Kenneth Kitts, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, noted that some universities use diversity as a slogan for their websites.
"UNCP wrote the book on inclusiveness and so should you," Kitts said. "Remember this special legacy. UNCP is a unique institution and so are you."
UNCP has been described in national media as the most diverse university in the South.
Responsibility. At the graduate school commencement, Dr. Jenkins said, "You have the responsibility to be a leader in your field and in your community. Leadership is about doing the right thing, at the right time, and in the right place.
"Always maintain high ethical standards," he said. "The ethical crisis our nation is facing at this time is even greater than the economic crisis. Have high expectations for yourself and for others, and remember, that devoted leadership is what leads to happiness."