Honorary doctorates to be awarded during Dec. 16 commencement

Western Carolina University will bestow honorary doctorates upon one of Western North Carolina’s most revered educational leaders and an icon of WCU athletics history as the university holds fall commencement exercises at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Ramsey Regional Activity Center.

An honorary doctorate of education will be awarded to K. Ray Bailey, president of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, and an honorary doctorate of humane letters will be presented to McDaniel “Dan” Robinson, a member of the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame, military veteran and former Jackson County commissioner and state senator.

The primary commencement address will be delivered by graduating senior James Lockeman Harwell, a communication major and native of Gastonia. Harwell, who lost his sight to the disease retinitis pigmentosa at age 24, won a campus-wide essay contest to select the commencement speaker.

Commencement is open to everyone and no tickets are required for admission. Approximately 500 students are candidates for undergraduate and graduate degrees, pending final examinations and review.

WCU Chancellor John W. Bardo will preside over commencement and deliver the charge to the degree candidates.

Receptions for the degree candidates and their families and friends will be held in the Ramsey Center following commencement. Receptions for undergraduate students will be held on the Ramsey Center concourse in a designated area for each college, while a reception for graduate students will be held in the auxiliary gymnasium.

Spectators should enter the Ramsey Center through one of four upper concourse doors. Those with physical disabilities should use the northeastern upper entrance, adjacent to the stands of E.J. Whitmire Stadium.