News & Messages

Chancellor, campus organizations honor graduates before Commencement

Graduation season is in full swing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Campus organizations are hosting their own graduations leading up to Sunday’s main University Commencement at Kenan Stadium. And the week of events has given Chancellor Carol L. Folt the opportunity to celebrate with the soon-to-be graduates.

Carolina’s festivities kicked off May 3 with the 10th annual Lavender Graduation hosted by the LGBTQ Center. More than a dozen graduating students were celebrated at the ceremony, which honors sexuality studies minors, graduating LGBTQ-identified students and their allies.

“All of you have worked so hard to build unity and build a community not only for yourselves but for people who can’t build it for themselves,” Folt said at the graduation. “You help others understand what it means to be a part of a broader community. As a result, you bring real joy and meaning to our community.”

Carolina graduate Alex Ferrando spoke at the graduation. Ferrando was one of the first-ever recipients of the UNC LGBTQ Advocacy Award and helped organize the first Lavender Graduation as a student.

On May 7, the UNC American Indian Center Commencement Ceremony and Reception recognized the accomplishments of American Indian students and students graduating with a degree in American Indian and Indigenous Studies.

“You are all a precious gem and a piece of a beautiful mosaic,” Folt said.

Hosted by the UNC American Indian Center and American Indian and Indigenous Studies faculty, the ceremony featured Lumbee Tribe member and corporate attorney Tim McNeill as guest speaker.

Led by speakers  Air Force ROTC cadet William Collette and Army veteran Jacob Hinton, the Red, White and Carolina Blue Graduation Ceremony honored Carolina’s graduating veterans, active-duty service members, National Guard, Reservists and ROTC commissionees May 8. During the ceremony, the military-affiliated students received a red, white and blue Military Honor Cord to wear at Commencement

“There can’t be any deeper service than the service of our active-duty military and veteran population’s service to our country and service to our world,” Folt said. “… We’re proud of what you do. We depend, as a nation, on what you do. It’s something that makes use extremely proud.”

The Carolina Latina/o Collaborative’s Éxitos graduation on May 8 honored graduates who worked to support and promote Latino communities on campus. The ceremony celebrated the successes of Latino students and recognized those who have supported the Latino community. Former Carolina basketball player and Harlem Globetrotter Orlando Meléndez spoke at the event.

Carolina’s doctoral candidates were celebrated at the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony on May 9 at the Dean E. Smith Center. More than 200 students received their doctoral degrees. Susan A. Murphy, a 2013 MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant recipient, served as the keynote speaker for the doctoral hooding ceremony. She is the H.E. Robbins Distinguished University Professor of statistics, professor of psychiatry and research professor, all at the University of Michigan.

After Commencement on May 10, Folt will host a reception with refreshments at Polk Place to congratulate the graduates and their families