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NCCU Graduates More than 600 at Fall Commencement

Profile of the NCCU Fall Class of 2017
NCCU Ph.D. graduates of the Integrated Biosciences Program, Dal Khatri and Quantil Melendez
Commencement Speaker Tisha Campbell, ABC11 WTVD co-anchor

Journalist Tisha Powell Advises Graduates to Continue Learning 

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) awarded more than 600 degrees at its Fall Commencement exercises on campus, including two doctorates, 176 graduate and professional degrees and 437 undergraduate degrees.

The number of graduates makes this class among the largest for a December graduation ceremony at NCCU, university officials said.

“This robust group of graduates is a testament to NCCU’s commitment to offering a world-class education that prepares students for successful careers,” said Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye.

The chancellor congratulated all the graduates, giving special recognition to Service Impact Award winner Jonika Harrison, a social work major and transfer student who contributed 456 community service hours while enrolled at NCCU. She recently organized major a food drive to benefit children attending local elementary schools.

Akinleye also recognized Justin Trotman, who earned his degree in criminal justice in three years while also serving in student government, participating as a track athlete and completing a rigorous co-op program with the United States Marshals Service. Trotman will begin working for the U.S. Department of Defense shortly after graduation, Akinleye said.

Keynote speaker Tisha Powell, a broadcast news reporter and anchor at ABC 11 WTVD, encouraged the graduates to stay focused on their goals even after their diploma is in hand.

Donning a pair of boxing gloves, Powell, a 20-year veteran of TV journalism, warned her audience that adversity is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to crush their dreams.

“Never forget you have the tools necessary to achieve greatness, and never lose your thirst for knowledge,” Powell advised.

She also told graduates to SPAR, which Powell explained is a shorthand way to remember her rules for success: set goals (S), follow a plan (P), express appreciation to others (A), and be resilient (R).

This strategy helped Powell realize her high school dream of becoming a widely admired television journalist “even though I’m from a town smaller than your TV set,” said the native of Bayou Lafourche, La.  

Two students received doctoral degrees during the ceremony in McDougald-McLendon Arena. Dal Khatri and Quantil Melendez each earned a Ph.D. in integrated biosciences. They were the fourth and fifth doctoral candidates to complete the program, which was created five years ago to train minority researchers.

“Our Ph.D. students are especially important to the global marketplace, because they will help investigate diseases and other causes of health disparities in the United States and abroad,” Akinleye said.

More than 430 bachelor’s degrees were awarded, including 233 Bachelor of Science degrees; 106 Bachelor of Arts degrees; 47 Bachelor of Business Administration degrees; 27 Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees; 18 Bachelor of Social Work degrees; and seven Bachelor of Music degrees.

Thirteen graduates of the NCCU School of Law received their juris doctor degrees. More than 160 master’s degrees were awarded in areas of science, arts, public administration, library science, business administration, teaching, music and school administration.


Published: Saturday, December 09, 2017
by Director of Marketing and Communications, Quiana M Shepard
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