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Expected record class to be honored at May 10-11 commencements

Graduating students who comprise what is expected to be Western Carolina University’s eighth straight record spring class will gather with their families and friends for commencement ceremonies Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11.

Commencement for WCU’s Graduate School will be held at 7 p.m. May 10. Commencement for the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Allied Professions, and David Orr Belcher College of Fine and Performing Arts will begin at 10 a.m. May 11. That event will be followed the same day by a 3 p.m. ceremony for the colleges of Business, Health and Human Sciences, and Engineering and Technology. All the ceremonies will take place at Ramsey Regional Activity Center.

After grades from final exams are tallied and academic records finalized, WCU’s spring class, including recipients of both undergraduate and graduate degrees, is expected to total more than 1,650 graduates, which would be the largest class in university history.

WCU schedules three commencements on the Cullowhee campus each spring to accommodate the number of graduating students and audiences that will attend in the Ramsey Center. About 1,500 students are expected to participate in this year’s events. WCU commencements are open to everyone, with no limit on the number of family members and friends who can attend.

For those who cannot attend, the ceremonies will be livestreamed at

The address for the May 10 Graduate School commencement will be delivered by Dana Stockton, a graduating student from Melbourne, Florida, who is receiving his master’s degree through WCU’s online program in human resources. Antonio Oakley of Charlotte, a member of the spring class who is receiving his bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, will provide remarks for the May 11 afternoon undergraduate ceremony.

The May 11 morning undergraduate commencement will include presentation of a University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching to John Whitmire, a WCU associate professor of philosophy and resident of Candler. Whitmire recently was announced as one of 17 recipients of that honor across the UNC System. He will address the graduating students and audience after receiving his award at that ceremony.

Alison Morrison-Shetlar, WCU’s interim chancellor, will preside over all three commencements and deliver the charge to the graduating students at each one.

Traffic always is heavy in the Sylva area for WCU commencements, and university officials urge those attending to plan on arriving at the Ramsey Center at least one hour before the events begin. A map showing parking areas is available at Shuttles will be available to transport attendees from parking areas to the Ramsey Center.

For more general information about WCU’s May commencements, contact the university Registrar’s Office at 828-227-7216.

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