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
John Grisham, an iconic figure in American popular fiction writing, will be the May 2010 Commencement speaker.
A lawyer who started writing thrillers in his spare time and now is the author of 23 novels, including The Firm and The Pelican Brief, Grisham’s family also has ties to UNC. His daughter Shea earned an education degree in 2008 and teaches in Raleigh. Grisham’s wife, Renee, is listed as a UNC junior who is expected to become a senior in January. She previously studied at the University of Mississippi.
Chancellor Holden Thorp ’86 chose Grisham in consultation with the University’s Commencement speaker selection committee, which is made up of an equal number of students and faculty.
“John is an engaging speaker who will have a profound message for our graduates and their families,” Thorp said. “His prowess with the written and spoken word makes him an excellent choice for a Commencement speaker. He has an inspirational story to share.”
Grisham, a native of Jonesboro, Ark., holds an accounting degree from Mississippi State University and a 1981 law degree from the University of Mississippi. He practiced law in his home state for nearly 10 years and also served in the state’s House of Representatives. He started his first book, A Time to Kill, after hearing courtroom testimony in a rape case.
The Firm was the bestselling novel of 1991. He took a hiatus from writing in 1996 to honor a previous commitment to represent the family of a railroad brakeman who was killed on the job; the case earned him the biggest verdict of his career. He returned to writing, most recently publishing a collection of short stories, FordCounty. Nine of his books have been made into movies.
Grisham participated in the N.C. Literary Festival on campus in September, delivering the first keynote lecture.