Campus organizations celebrate graduates

UNC banners on South wide by phoneIn the days leading up to the University’s Doctoral Hooding ceremony and main Commencement at Kenan Stadium, Chancellor Carol L. Folt is celebrating with the soon-to-be graduates at smaller graduations hosted by campus groups.

The graduation celebrations began May 5 with the Carolina Grad Student F1RSTS — a program for graduate students who are the first in their families to earn a master’s or doctoral degree.

“It is a milestone, and it’s really fun for us to get to celebrate that,” Folt said. “Let’s put an exclamation point on these wonderful accomplishments.”

Folt then joined more than a dozen Carolina student-athletes at the Blue Zone on May 7. The ceremony celebrated the graduating students who would be away from Chapel Hill for competition during the larger commencement.

The Chancellor told the student-athletes that the same set of traits they bring to their sports are also the same that help them excel in the classroom.

”I think part of your athletic performance has played a huge part in who you are in your academic performance,” she said.

Also on May 7, the LGBTQ Center held it’s 12th annual Lavender Graduation, which honored sexuality studies minors, graduating LGBTQ-identified students and their allies. During the event, Folt thanked the 35 graduates for their courage and effort in creating change at Carolina.

“I can’t feel anything but hope when I look out at all of you because you are the faces of the future,” she said. “You are the fresh ideas, you’re the personalities, you’re the humor, you’re inventions, you’re the discoveries, you’re the people that are going to change the way that we treat each other and the ones who are going to help push us forward in all fields of human endeavor.”

Carolina graduate Nebula Li, who is now a lawyer with Domestic Violence Legal Clinic in Chicago, served as the events guest speaker. Li encouraged the graduates to continue to fight for justice.

Pre-commencement celebrations will continue throughout the week with the American Indian Center Commencement Ceremony on May 10, Carolina Latina/o Collaborative’s Éxitos graduation on May 11 and Red, White and Carolina Blue Graduation Ceremony on May 12.

By Brandon Bieltz, University Communications