A sense of pride and accomplishment was palpable in the Greensboro Coliseum this morning.

Proud graduates. Proud friends and family. Proud faculty and staff.

UNCG awarded approximately 1,444 bachelor’s degrees, 281 master’s degrees, 78 doctoral degrees and four specialist in education degrees at the university’s December Commencement ceremonies. The more than 1,800 degrees include Spartans who met their graduation requirements in August.

Commencement speaker Terry Akin, CEO of Cone Health, left the new graduates with three lessons he’s learned over the course of his life: Never stop learning, have integrity and be kind.

Akin encouraged the Class of 2017 to have a growth mindset – to learn and become better each day.

“There is a reason this is called commencement. It’s a beginning,” he said. Namely, the beginning of a new learning journey.

Akin recognized one Spartan by name: 82-year-old Phil Koch, UNCG’s oldest graduate, who earned his bachelor’s degree in history.

“If you want to be inspired by the thought of lifelong learning, look no further than your own fellow graduate,” he said.

Akin encouraged the Class of 2017 to act with integrity by honoring commitments and being transparent.

And above all else, he implored them to be kind.

Degrees were conferred, tassels were turned and cheers rang out across the coliseum.

And with that, more than 1,800 new UNCG alumni began the next chapter of their lives.

Congratulations, Class of 2017!

 

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