Joy, laughter and a strong sense of accomplishment filled the Greensboro Coliseum this morning as approximately 1,689 Spartans turned their tassels at December Commencement.

The university awarded approximately 1,236 bachelor’s degrees, 359 master’s degrees, 86 doctoral degrees and eight specialist in education degrees. Of those degrees, 40 were awarded to international students.

The College of Arts & Sciences and the Bryan School of Business and Economics had the largest graduating classes, awarding approximately 650 and 393 degrees, respectively.

In his first commencement as UNCG’s leader, Chancellor Frank Gilliam Jr. welcomed the Class of 2015 with congratulations and urged the graduates to use their skills and passions to make a difference.

“We’re turning to you, our new generation of leaders, to help us address the world’s complex problems,” Gilliam said. “I think what sets you apart – what being a part of the Spartan nation means – is that you are committed to making a difference in the world.”

UNCG Hayes Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship Dr. Dianne H.B. Welsh delivered a commencement address that encouraged students to build the HERO – hope, efficacy, resilience and optimism – within themselves. Welsh shared stories from her own life, as well as life lessons from other UNCG faculty members.

“The greater the HERO within you, the more successful you will be,” Welsh said. “This has been proven by research and has been confirmed in all industries and around the globe. It doesn’t matter where you work or what you do.”

Megan Conner, who was awarded a doctoral degree in nursing, served as the student speaker for the Class of 2015.  A mother of two, Conner shared the five lessons she would impart to her daughters if they were graduating, concluding her list with a simple, yet important, message.

“Accept yourself. Love yourself and value yourself,” she said. “You each bring something to the table that only you can bring. Don’t compare yourself to others, but be an amazing you, and you will shine.”

Burlington Industries Excellence Professor Dr. L. DiAnne Borders served as the faculty marshal and mace bearer, and Krishnaveni Balakrishnan, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies, was the tassel turner.

Miranda Weavil, a university marshal and Spartans of Promise award winner, rang the university bell alongside UNCG alumna Betty Hobgood Eidenier ’66.

The University Brass Ensemble led the graduates and attendees in “America the Beautiful” and the University Song.

For more information about this morning’s ceremony, visit the UNCG Commencement Central website.


Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Relations
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Relations