2,182 Students Turn Their Tassels at UNC Winter Commencement

Family, friends and alumni filled the stands at the Dean Smith Center on Sunday afternoon to see 2,182 students receive their hard-earned degrees at the Winter Commencement.

Nine hundred and ninety-seven were undergraduates. Masters degrees went out to 790 candidates; and 41 students received professional degrees. Doctoral degrees went to 354 recipients.

UNC President Tom Ross, an alumnus of the UNC School of Law, congratulated the students and thanked their families. He expressed confidence in the likelihood of future success for members of the graduating class, but added that he hopes for more.

“I’m equally hopeful and confident that each of you will strive to make life better for others,” said Ross. “That you will work to improve the community in which you live. And that you will do all you can to contribute to the common good, and a better world.”

The keynote speaker was James H. Johnson, Jr., the William R. Kenan Distinguished Professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Kenan-Flagler Business School; and director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center in the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.

Johnson told students they are entering a hyper-competitive workforce, driven by profound economic and demographic shifts.

“We are entering what is called a ‘Human Age,’” said Johnson, “where inner human potential will be the primary driver of innovations in our economy, and in all major advances in our lives.”

Johnson added that an entrepreneurial mindset will be required to meet the challenges of the new global economy. That includes the ability to adapt quickly in an unpredictable environment.

Chancellor Carol Folt close the hourlong ceremony with an experience she first shared last spring at a TED-X UNC conference called “Taking Flight.”

Folt, a biologist with degrees from The University of California at Davis, recalled one unforgettable research trip to New Zealand.

“It was a moment when I was crouched on a high, rocky cliff that looked out over a spectacular beach, into what looked to be an endless sea at the southernmost tip of New Zealand,” said Folt. “I was there, concealed behind a hideaway, to witness one of nature’s greatest marvels, the flight of a newly fledged giant albatross.”

Folt said the wingspan of the albatross she saw that day reached about 12 feet, as it leaped awkwardly off a cliff to soar over the ocean. She told UNC graduates that she hopes they all realize “how large [their] wings have become” during their time at the university.

The Spring Commencement for 2015 is scheduled for Sunday, May 10th.

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/2182-students-turn-tassels-unc-winter-commencement/

December UNC Graduates To Turn Their Tassels Sunday

CHAPEL HILL – MacArthur genius grant recipient and world renowned concussion expert, Kevin Guskiewicz will usher UNC graduates into their next phase of life as the December Commencement speaker Sunday.

Kevin Guskiewicz (Photo courtesy of UNC News Services)

Kevin Guskiewicz (Photo courtesy of UNC News Services)

This marks the first commencement for UNC Chancellor Carol Folt after being hired as the university’s 11th chancellor.

Guskiewicz is the founding director of the MatthewGfellerSport-RelatedTraumaticBrainInjuryResearchCenter and research director for the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. He began work at UNC in the department of exercise and sports science in 1995.

He has studied hundreds of retired football players to determine a relationship between concussions or head injuries and the appearance of dementia, depression and other brain dysfunction later in life.

In an effort to make football a safer sport, Guskiewicz convinced ESPN to cancel a Sunday night program that featured the biggest hits from that day of NFL games.

Sunday’s commencement ceremony begins at 2:00 p.m. at the DeanSmithCenter. No tickets are necessary and parking is available in the lots surrounding the Dean Dome.

You can also watch a live stream of the event by clicking here.

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/december-unc-graduates-turn-tassels-sunday/

UNC To Turn Tassles Sunday

CHAPEL HILL-On Sunday morning, the members of UNC’s senior class will enter the next chapter of their lives at the university’s spring commencement ceremony—and the university will also prepare to enter its next chapter with a new chancellor.

This will mark the fifth and final spring commencement ceremony for outgoing chancellor Holden Thorp, whose time at the helm has been plagued by various scandals and controversies. Dr. Carol Folt, who currently serves as interim president of Dartmouth College, will officially assume the chancellorship on July 1.

AOL co-founder Steve Case will serve as the ceremony’s speaker. In addition to his extensive background in technology, he and his wife also chair the Case Foundation, which is dedicated to promoting innovation through entrepreneurship. The foundation has several similarities to an initiative entitled “Innovate At Carolina,” which Thorp created as a way to use UNC as a launching pad to entrepreneurship in science, medicine, business, and other fields.

While most graduating college seniors are in their early 20s, one Bachelor of Arts recipient is significantly older—87-year-old grandmother of four and great-grandmother of one Helen Joan Miller Hunter, otherwise known as “Grandma Jo.” She came three credits short of her Carolina degree in 1947, but never quite finished due to an illness.

Hunter says several aspects of her life—and the world around her—have changed since she first attended UNC.

“There’s been war, peace, I’ve had marriages, divorces, and I’ve had four children,” she says. “There’s been all kinds of things.”

UNC’s commencement ceremony will begin at 9:30 on Sunday morning in Kenan Stadium, and 30,000 people are expected to attend. Stay tuned to WCHL and chapelboro.com for full coverage of Sunday’s graduation festivities.

http://chapelboro.com/news/unc/unc-grads-set-to-turn-tassles-on-sunday-at-commencement/