UNC-Chapel Hill’s Commencement weekend events take place May 11-13

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UNC-Chapel Hill’s Commencement weekend events take place May 11-13

Alumnus and co-founder of Carolina for Kibera, Rye Barcott, to give keynote address


(Chapel Hill, N.C. –  May 9, 2018) – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will host its Spring Commencement on Sunday, May 13 at 9 a.m., featuring a keynote address from Rye Barcott, social entrepreneur, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Carolina alumnus.


In addition to presiding over Commencement at Kenan Stadium, Chancellor Carol L. Folt will also speak at the Red, White and Carolina Blue Graduation honoring Carolina’s military-affiliated graduates and the doctoral hooding ceremony, which acknowledges students who have become masters in their fields.

The weekend will culminate in the formal Commencement presentation, with the Class of 1968 walking into Kenan Stadium along with the Class of 2018. During the Commencement ceremony, Carolina will award honorary degrees to three individuals. More information on this year’s honorary degree recipients can be found here.


Before graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill, Barcott co-founded Carolina for Kibera through the Center for Global Initiatives within UNC Global. CFK is a non-governmental organization based in the impoverished Kibera neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya. Currently Barcott serves as co-founder and CEO of With Honor, a civic organization that is helping elect to Congress a cross-partisan coalition of post-9/11 veterans.


As of May 2, the University registrar estimates that 6,119 students will graduate Sunday: 3,886 with bachelor’s degrees, 1,596 with master’s, 262 with doctoral degrees and 637 with professional degrees from the schools of dentistry, law, medicine and pharmacy. You can find more information on the class of 2018 here. Students completing degree work this spring or summer will participate in Spring Commencement. The official number of graduates will be available when all grades are recorded.


Red, White and Carolina Blue Graduation

Friday May 11, 9 a.m.

Frank Porter Graham Student Union, Great Hall

Fifty-three graduates who are veterans, currently serving in the military or ROTC students commissioning upon graduation, will be presented with red, white and Carolina blue honor cords. The students will wear their cords at Sunday’s Commencement as special recognition for their military commitment. This ceremony is part of the University’s continued expansion of support for military-affiliated students.


On-site media contact: Audrey Smith, (919) 801-1936, audrey.smith@unc.edu.


Doctoral hooding ceremony

Saturday May 12, 9:30 a.m.

Dean E. Smith Center

Kathryn Lofton, Ph.D., professor of religious studies, American studies, history and divinity at Yale University, will deliver the keynote speech. She received both her master’s and doctoral degrees in religious studies from UNC-Chapel Hill.  A live stream of the ceremony can be found here.


On-site media contact: Kate Luck, (479) 629-6334 , kate.luck@unc.edu.


Spring Commencement

Sunday May 13, 9 a.m.

Kenan Stadium

As previously announced, Rye Barcott, a 2001 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, will deliver Carolina’s Spring Commencement address. He will have a small window of media availability following the ceremony. If you’re interested in speaking with Barcott after his remarks please RSVP to Jeni Cook, jeni.cook@unc.edu, no later than noon Friday, May 11.  A live stream of the ceremony can be found here.


Media check-in: 8:30 a.m.

From the parking lot, walk past the trees to Kenan Stadium. Enter through Gate 6. On-site media contact: Jeni Cook, (404) 309-3994, jeni.cook@unc.edu. All graduates will be seated on the field; however, media will not be permitted in student or guest seating areas during the ceremony. Broadcasters are asked to bring their own drop cords.


Inclement weather:

The Commencement ceremony will be held in Kenan Stadium. If it rains during Commencement, the Chancellor and organizers may shorten the ceremony, but it will not be relocated. Umbrellas will be permitted, but guests should use caution when using umbrellas and be mindful of those seated around them.


If severe weather is expected Commencement morning, the University may postpone the ceremony to allow for the threat to pass. If there are weather-related delays, the latest possible start time for Commencement would be 11 a.m. If severe weather threatens while the ceremony is in progress and the attendee’s safety is at risk, the ceremony will be canceled and guests will be advised to seek shelter. The ceremony will not resume. University Communications will inform media about the delay or cancellation. Weather-related updates will be available at unc.edu and on the Commencement website.


Media parking:

A limited number of spaces will be reserved in the UNC Police lot off Manning Drive. From Manning, turn onto Paul Hardin/Public Safety Drive (one traffic light west of the intersection of Manning and Skipper Bowles Drive/Ridge Road) and turn left into the UNC Police lot. Media identification will be required. Parking will be available along the left side of the cones across the lot and toward the 2nd entrance to the lot as indicated by a special sign at the entrance. Do not park in numbered spaces. Please RSVP to Jeni Cook, jeni.cook@unc.edu  no later than noon on Friday, May 11.


Media representatives may also use lots and shuttles provided for Commencement guests. Traffic into Chapel Hill is expected to be heavy from 7:30 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.


Other ceremonies:

Many individual schools and departments will hold their own ceremonies during Commencement weekend. Locations and times are available online.




About the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the nation’s first public university, is a global higher education leader known for innovative teaching, research and public service. A member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, Carolina regularly ranks as the best value for academic quality in U.S. public higher education. Now in its third century, the University offers 77 bachelor’s, 111 master’s, 65 doctorate and seven professional degree programs through 14 schools and the College of Arts and Sciences. Every day, faculty, staff and students shape their teaching, research and public service to meet North Carolina’s most pressing needs in every region and all 100 counties. Carolina’s more than 322,000 alumni live in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and 165 countries. More than 175,000 live in North Carolina.


University Communications: Media Relations, (919) 445-8555, mediarelations@unc.edu