By Latricia Boone
There’s something about graduations that makes, even those of us who aren’t graduating, feel a sense of delight and excitement. So this past Saturday, when UNC Charlotte proudly conferred the degrees of nearly 3400 graduates it was a time of celebration. At this 66th commencement, held in UNC Charlotte’s Halton Arena, more than 1,900 of students received their Bachelor's while the other 1,000 graduates received advanced degrees, including 70 doctorates.
It was a special celebration for the University, as this year’s graduates are part of a growing contingency of students who have experienced the University at its peak in growth and change. Speaking to the crowd, Chancellor Phillip Dubois noted that in the last 4-6 years, not only has the student body grown to more than 26,000, the University has greatly expanded its academic programs - offering a number of new doctoral degrees – and continued improving the look and feel of the campus. With the University completing more than a billion dollar’s worth of construction during their time here, these graduates saw the construction of the Center City Building and new residence halls on main campus. And of course, there was the inauguration of football, which proved to be an exciting milestone not only for students but for many across the Charlotte community.
One of the things that makes UNC Charlotte so special is its students. Deeply rooted in its tradition, is the ability to serve those who come from many different walks of life but share the commonality of wanting to achieve academic success. Witnessing the winter commencement and many of the recent milestones, there is no doubt that Saturday was a proud day for those graduates. I’m sure that as each of them looks back, they are able to reflect not only on the University’s growth during their time here, but their own growth as individuals. Hopefully, they found their experience to be valuable and are leaving university life feeling very proud to say “I am a 49er” as they go out into the world and Stake their Claim.
So, in the spirit of being a 49er, we celebrate and applaud our graduates. As they mark the conclusion of an academic and personal milestone, we wish them much success. No matter what path they choose, an advanced academic program, the workforce or just starting the rest of their lives, we know that their futures are grounded in the 49er spirit of determination and perseverance. Cheers to the season and cheers to UNC Charlotte’s graduates.
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Latricia Boone is communications director for the Colleges of Education and Health & Human Services.