Feb. 7, 2020
Frank Bruni ’86, who launched his journalism career as a student reporter at Carolina and now writes candidly about some of the most pressing issues in politics, culture and higher education for The New York...Read More
Dec. 16, 2019
Carolina professor and two-time Grammy Award-winner Bill Ferris shared words of wisdom with graduating students Sunday as Carolina’s newest alumni prepared to start the next chapter of their lives. “Your Carolina education will help you...Read More
Nov. 14, 2019
Grammy Award-winning professor Bill Ferris will deliver the University’s 2019 Winter Commencement address. The director emeritus of the Center for the Study of the American South and adjunct professor emeritus in the folklore curriculum joined...Read More
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 audacity with equal commitment to incrementalness,” Dr. Satish Gopal ’97 told graduates at Winter Commencement, held at the Dean Smith Center on Dec. 17. “To be bold, but also boring, and to painstakingly do the daily reading and thinking and experimenting and measuring and reevaluating when absolutely no one is watching or paying attention, without which big, bold solutions to big, bold problems simply can’t be actualized.”
Gopal, who also earned his master’s in public health from UNC in 2000, is director of the cancer program at UNC Project-Malawi; he received his medical degree from Duke. His selection as speaker continued the tradition of having a Carolina faculty member deliver the Winter Commencement address.
More than 1,100 students received degrees this month: 491 undergraduates, 567 master’s degree students, 99 doctoral students and nine professional students.
In her opening remarks, Chancellor Carol L. Folt shared inspirational stories and remarks from two Nobel Prize winners — Albert Einstein and Oliver Smithies, the University’s first full-time faculty member to win a Nobel and a world-renowned giant in the field of gene targeting, who died in January 2017 — inventors Orville and Wilbur Wright; and Preston Dobbins ’69, who helped found Carolina’s Black Student Movement 50 years ago and “helped us create a more diverse, inclusive place.”
Like these people, Folt told the graduates, “wonder and creativity, grit and determination, never giving up and believing in yourself will propel you forward throughout your lives.”
In Lilongwe, Malawi, where it was 9 p.m., a livestream presentation of the ceremony connected the Smith Center and UNC Project-Malawi.
“Friends and colleagues at our UNC program in Malawi are watching this on the livestream as we speak — 8,000 miles and seven time zones away — which is important simply as testament to the amazing interconnectedness and reach of the global UNC family,” said Gopal, who also is an oncologist and infectious disease physician.
“In Malawi, we have opportunities to exhaustively study cancers that occur rarely in North Carolina, to uncover fundamental biologic insights about why cancer occurs and to think about entirely new ways to diagnose and treat cancer that could benefit the entire world if successful,” Gopal said.
“I feel completely humbled by how important my UNC institutional family has been,” he said, “providing an unconditionally supportive tether, which has given me confidence to wander all around the world doing random things.”