The nearly 1,300 members of Western Carolina University’s spring graduating class will be honored for their academic achievements as the university holds a trio of commencement ceremonies over a two-day period, May 4-5, at Ramsey Regional Activity Center.
Commencement for WCU’s Graduate School will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, May 4. Commencement for the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Allied Professions, and Fine and Performing Arts will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 5, and that event will be followed the same day by a 3:30 p.m. ceremony for the College of Business, College of Health and Human Sciences, and Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology.
Three commencements are being held to allow the Ramsey Center to accommodate the large number of graduating students who will be participating in the ceremonies and the audiences that are expected. WCU’s commencements are open to everyone, with no limit on the number of family members and friends who can attend.
WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher will preside over the ceremonies and deliver his charge to the degree candidates at all three events. WCU faculty member Lisa Briggs, the university’s recipient of the 2012 University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, will deliver the primary address at the Friday night Graduate School commencement, and then she will be presented the award during the Saturday afternoon ceremony.
The Saturday morning commencement will include the presentation of an honorary doctor of laws degree to Lacy H. Thornburg, a longtime Webster resident who retired in 2009 after a distinguished career in politics and judicial affairs during which he served as a state legislator, N.C. attorney general, and judge of Superior Court and U.S. District Court.
Traffic is always heavy for commencement on WCU’s campus, and university officials urge those attending to plan on arriving at the Ramsey Center at least one hour before the events begin. On-campus shuttle services will be available for the three ceremonies.
WCU police recommend that those attending the events consider using Route 1002 (Old Cullowhee Road) to access campus through the back entrance. Drivers also are asked to refrain from dropping off visitors while sitting in travel lanes around the Ramsey Center, as that endangers the visitors and creates traffic backups.
More driving and parking information, including a map of traffic patterns, is available at this web site: http://www.wcu.edu/24593.asp.
For more general information about WCU’s May commencement ceremonies, contact the university’s registrar’s office at 828-227-7216.
By Randall Holcombe