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N.C. Rep. H.M. “Mickey” Michaux Jr. Addresses Graduates

NCCU Class of Fall 2018 profile
NCCU graduate students place hoods on their classmates.
Rep. H.M. Michaux Jr. addresses NCCU Fall Class of 2018
Ernesha Ballard, mother of senior DeAndre Ballard who died tragically in September, accepts posthumous degree for son.
NCCU's 132nd Commencement Exercises
School of Law graduates
NCCU graduate poses for a picture for family.

Graduates represent largest fall class in university history 

Approximately 639 North Carolina Central University (NCCU) graduates received their degrees on Dec. 8, 2018, during the university’s 132nd Commencement Exercises, the largest December graduation in university history.

The degree recipients included 465 undergraduates, 161 graduates and 13 professionals.

NCCU alumnus and North Carolina House Rep. H.M. “Mickey” Michaux Jr. delivered the keynote address, encouraging graduates to “face the world boldly.”

“I say this because the political landscape today seems to try to make the dream of idealism meaningless,” Michaux said. “Let no one doubt that the United States as a beacon of hope is still there, seen throughout the world, even in the darkest corners and most oppressive regions.”

He urged them to fulfill the ideals of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by pushing forward on issues of equality and other challenges facing America, such as “racism and poverty, environmental safety and health, protection of natural resources, and national security.”

Eagle graduates, he added, have the power to overcome those problems.

“Your dreams are your only boundaries,” he said.

Michaux concluded his address by advising graduates to remain involved at NCCU.

“Remember your alma mater, where you got your education,” he said. “You owe it to the rolling hills and verdant green from whence you came.”

During the ceremony, NCCU Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye gave special recognition to Beijing, China native, Qingqing Xie, who is the second graduate of the Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist training program, a partnership between NCCU’s School of Education and Beijing Language and Culture University. Xie plans to return to China to work as a speech pathologist and educator to enhance the speech-language pathology profession in the country.

Akinleye also recognized Doneva Chavis, who returned to NCCU in 2016 after 41 years to complete her undergraduate degree in Behavioral and Social Sciences with a hospitality and tourism concentration.

“Doneva Chavis exemplifies and embodies The Eagle Promise,” Akinleye said, adding that Chavis now plans to obtain a master’s degree to teach hospitality in higher education.

“She proves it’s never too late to pursue your passion,” the chancellor added.

Tim Adekoya became the sixth graduate to earn a Ph.D. in Integrated Biosciences, a program created five years ago to train minority researchers. 

“This graduating class is poised to not only make a significant impact in these industries but also to fuel the change and innovation that is necessary to take us collectively from good to great,” said Akinleye.

The university also awarded a posthumous degree to senior DeAndre Ballard, who passed award tragically in September. His mother, Ernesha Ballard, received the degree.

An estimated 465 bachelor’s degrees were awarded, including 247 Bachelor of Science degrees; 122 Bachelor of Arts degrees; 50 Bachelor of Business Administration degrees; 27 Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees; 15 Bachelor of Social Work degrees; and four Bachelor of Music degrees.

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

Photos and video from the ceremony are available here.

A rebroadcast of NCCU’s 132nd Commencement Exercises will be available at http://www.nccu.edu/media/live/.

Published: Saturday, December 08, 2018
by Director of Marketing and Communications, Quiana M Shepard
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