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Dr. Nikkel to speak at graduation

By Allyson Betot

November 29, 2012

Photo by Ashley Cole
Dr. Debby Hanmer, assistant professor in the biology department, studies a culture of mold taken from Old Main.

Graduating seniors and graduate students will be walking across the stage on Dec. 7-8.

Delivering their keynote address will be Dr. David H. Nikkel, associate professor of religion and the chair of the philosophy and religion department.

Dr. Nikkel won the 2012 UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence in April.

"I was hopeful. There were a number of candidates," Dr. Nikkel said about the award.

After turning in a portfolio and having his classes reviewed by the award committee members, Dr. Nikkel was recommended by the committee to the Board of Governors.

Outside of class

In Dr. Nikkel's time outside of class, he is a part-time minister at the Eutah Church of Christ in Fayetteville. He is also passionate about music.

"I love music," Dr. Nikkel said. During his commute from Fayetteville, he says he gets to listen to a lot of music.

"I play piano. I play the accordion a little bit," he said. "I just enjoy playing, singing, doing a little song writing. Music is kind of my main hobby."

Dr. Nikkel started to become more serious about learning how to play instruments while in college after attempting to learn the clarinet in grade school.

Dr. Nikkel also has two daughters, two cats and a beagle, who is the "baby" of the family.

Dr. Nikkel also enjoys swimming at the pool in the English Jones Center.

Advice to students

"Keep learning," is Dr. Nikkel's advice to students. "Be a life long learner."

Once you're graduated, Dr. Nikkel said, "you don't have the deadlines... You control your own learning. But definitely keep reading and keep learning."

This is just some of the advice Dr. Nikkel will be offering in his winter commencement speeches.

"It's freeing to be educated about all major aspects of human culture," he said.

He said that education is important to "understand what's going on in the world, to be an educated citizen, a flexible worker."

"To be a generally, liberally educated person is first of all good for the person as a person– to be a person who enjoys life and appreciates all the beauties and interest available in life," Dr. Nikkel said.

Editor's note: Undergraduate winter commencement will be held on Dec. 8, at 10 a.m. in the English Jones Center.

Graduate winter commencement will be held on Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. in the English Jones Center.

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