A total of 901 students received undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees over the course of Campbell's five graduation ceremonies on May 10-11.
The five commencements included the College of Arts & Sciences, Norman A. Wiggins School of Law, Divinity School, College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences and a combined event for the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business and School of Education. Keynote speakers included some of North Carolina’s top leaders in government — chief among them Gov. Pat McCrory, who spoke to law graduates in Raleigh on Friday.
Below is a roundup of Campbell’s ceremonies. Complete stories from each event are linked in the sidebar, as are profiles on Campbell graduates and a photo gallery from all five graduations.
ARTS & SCIENCES
Commencement speaker Dr. Janelle A. Rhyne, medical director of Cape Fear HealthNet
On hand to celebrate the Class of 2013's commencement ceremony for the College of Arts & Sciences Saturday was about 20 members of the Class of 1963 ... an important class in the 126-year history of Campbell University.
Members of that class — on campus this weekend to celebrate their 50-year reunion - were the first students to graduate from then Campbell College with a four-year degree. Campbell officials voted 54 years ago, as this class was entering its first year of college, to enact a four-year curriculum at the school and shed the name "junior" from its title, Campbell Junior College.
Representing the class at Saturday's commencement at the Pope Convocation Center, the Hon. William H. Ledbetter Jr. said a lot of people who'd committed to Campbell backed out after hearing the news. Those who stayed, he said, had confidence in the vision of the board of trustees at the time.
"Being back on campus, looking at this graduating class … it gives us a sense of vindication that we made the right choice," Ledbetter said. "Fifty years from now after you’ve completed your long and successful careers, I’m confident you’ll look back and agree with us that you made the right decision.”
Commencement speaker June St. Clair Atkinson, the North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction
In a joint ceremony Saturday afternoon at the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center, Campbell University’s Lundy-Fetterman School of Business and School of Education awarded degrees to about 277 undergraduate, graduate and professional students.
June St. Clair Atkinson, the North Carolina State Superintendent of Public Instruction, delivered the commencement address, encouraging the new graduates to be leaders, no matter their job title, their salary, the paths they take or where they choose to be planted, she said.
“You can be a leader, and it may be easier to see yourself as a leader when you realize that leadership is not about the title or having a higher salary,” said Atkinson, who also received an honorary degree from Campbell on Saturday. “Leadership is about how you take on challenges, adapt to changes, and encourage others.”
Commencement speaker North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory explained the importance of hard work and determination to Campbell Law graduates today at the 35th annual hooding and graduation ceremony of the Norman A. Wiggins School of Law, held at the Raleigh Convention Center.
Campbell Law School conferred 132 Juris Doctor degrees at the ceremony. The graduates of the Class of 2013 hailed from 47 different undergraduate institutions and represented more than 30 different undergraduate majors. In addition to the Class of 2013, four graduates who finished last December also participated in commencement exercises.
In his speech, McCrory urged each graduate to fight through and overcome adversity during times of great personal struggle. To emphasize his point, he spoke candidly on losing the 2008 gubernatorial election, only to rebound and campaign successfully in 2012.
“When forward progress seems impossible or simply not worth the risk, you will be tempted to quit, to give up, or let someone else carry the burden,” said Gov. McCrory. “Don’t give in to that temptation. Don’t be afraid to fail, and if you do fail, don’t just accept the failure. Try again.”
Commencement speaker Daniel O. Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools
The 45 students who received their master's and doctoral degrees on Friday from the Campbell Divinity School during its spring hooding, graduation and worship service in Turner Auditorium are entering ministry at a "time that has no name,” said Daniel O. Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, the primary accrediting body for graduate theological education in the U.S. and Canada.
“We’re somewhere between the old modern that was and the new future that will be, but we don’t know what it will be,” Aleshire said in his Charge to the Graduates. This means that as the new Divinity graduates pursue their respective callings, they will find “no easy way, no easy answers, and no sure-fire anything,” he said.
Still, he told the graduating students, “I don’t think you should leave this [commencement] service with an ounce of fear.”
PHARMACY & HEALTH SCIENCES
Commencement speaker Dr. Michael Nnadi, corporate vice president and chief pharmacy officer at Novant Health
Campbell University’s College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences held its 24th graduation ceremony May 11 at the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center. Dr. Michael Nnadi, corporate vice president and chief pharmacy officer at Novant Health, delivered the commencement address.
“Now that your dream has turned out to be a reality, your new challenge is to love pharmacy and get good at it. And as Steve Jobs said, ‘Stay hungry.’ And I say to you stay hungry in pharmacy,” Nnadi said.
When Nnadi was growing up he wanted to help people just like his mother who was a nurse. As he grew older he realized his mother was genuinely happy because of what she did on a day to day basis at her job. This helped him learn how important it is for individuals to love what they do in their careers to stay driven.
“If your heart is not beating for your vision, your goal, your business, for the pharmacy profession, if you do not stay hungry, then your career dies from lack of heartfelt compassion,” Nnadi said.
Stories by Cherry Crayton, Billy Liggett, Andrea Pratt and Brandon Yopp
Photos by Bennett Scarborough and Haven Hottel