May 15, 2018
For the more than 6,000 students sitting in a sea of Carolina blue in Kenan Stadium on May 13, the journey to graduation was anything but easy. There were demanding classes, all-nighters and countless assignments...Read More
Feb. 15, 2018
Social entrepreneur Rye Barcott ’01 will deliver the University’s spring Commencement address on May 13 in Kenan Stadium. Before graduating from UNC on an ROTC scholarship, Barcott co-founded Carolina for Kibera through the Center for...Read More
Dec. 21, 2017
Be audacious in your pursuits, but not in a flashy, shallow way, a faculty member whose research is on the forefront of cancer treatment in Malawi, Africa, told Carolina’s newest alumni this month. “Undergird your...Read More
Whether the sky on Commencement Sunday morning, May 8, is a bright Carolina blue or a cloudy gray, the place for the ceremony will be the same – Kenan Stadium.
Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86 has reversed a policy that had May Commencement shifting inside to the Dean E. Smith Center in the event of rain. While the weather never necessitated a change in venue, each year graduating students were urged to secure Smith Center tickets for guests in advance. About 30,000 people attend Commencement annually in Kenan Stadium, whereas the seating capacity in the Smith Center for graduation is 20,000 or less.
There will be no need for tickets this year because Commencement will be held in Kenan Stadium at 9:30 a.m., rain or shine. “Moving the ceremony to Smith Center was never a good option because the seating capacity is so limited for an event of this magnitude,” Thorp said. “This way, graduates won’t have to limit the number of guests they invite.”
If it rains during Commencement, the chancellor and organizers will shorten the ceremony, but it will not be relocated. If severe weather threatens and attendees’ safety is at risk, the ceremony would be canceled.
The change in policy eliminates confusion about where graduates and guests should go for the ceremony when the weather is questionable. It ensures that all the family members who travel to Chapel Hill will be able to attend Commencement. And it will save thousands of dollars in ticket distribution and in staff time for workers who would have to be on call at the Smith Center.
The doctoral hooding ceremony, scheduled for Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m., will still be held in the Smith Center, as will December Commencement. No tickets are required for either event.
The May 2011 Commencement speaker is biodiversity pioneer Edward Osborne Wilson Jr., Harvard University professor and two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction.
Seniors are invited to attend Commencement Information Day on March 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Great Hall, of the Student Union.