UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

1,520 Receive Degrees

011310Feature2As the word suggests, commencement is a beginning rather than an end, Dr. Matina C. Kalcounis-Rüppell told soon-to-be UNCG graduates and their families at commencement Dec. 17.

“Although you have reached a milestone in your career, your learning is far from over,” the associate professor of biology said. “In fact, your degree is actually the starting point for new degrees of learning across multiple disciplines that you will face over the course of your life.”

The university conferred 1,520 degrees – 1,076 bachelor’s, 372 master’s, 13 specialist in education and 60 doctorates – during the ceremony. In addition to Chancellor Linda P. Brady and Kalcounis-Rüppell, participants included Erskine B. Bowles, president of the UNC system; Provost David H. Perrin; Dr. Laurie Kennedy-Malone, chair of the Faculty Senate; Randall R. Kaplan, chair of the Board of Trustees; and Jana Welch Wagenseller, president of the Alumni Association.

The problems we face can only be solved with contributions from across the academic spectrum, Kalcounis-Rüppell said. Countering threats to the state’s frogs, bees and bats, for instance, will require collaboration among scientists, educators, geographers, public health experts and economists.

“As much as I would like to tell you that you can take a break from learning, I cannot,” said the winner of the 2009 Alumni Teaching Excellence Award.

Also taking part in the ceremony were UNCG’s academic deans; Dr. Daniel Winkler, faculty marshal and mace bearer; Margie Wiggins, chief marshal; and Renwick Pridgeon Jr., undergraduate tassel turner. Commencement Brass, conducted by Carole Ott, provided music.

Jacob Scott Henry spoke on behalf of the December graduating class and urged his classmates to take the day to rest and reflect, to find joy in their achievement, and to appreciate the role models and supporters who made graduation possible.

Graduates should strive to be good stewards, Henry said, growing resources for the common good and contributing to a more just world. “We can and should be agents of renewal for all aspects of society,” he said.

New graduate Julie Tesh and Diane Carpenter Peebles, an alumna of the Class of 1959, rang the University Bell at the conclusion of the ceremony.

The full text of Kalcounis-Rüppell’s address, “New Degrees of Learning,” is available online.