WCU to bestow honorary doctorates, alumni award at spring commencement

Joe Kimmel

Joe Kimmel

Western Carolina University will present honorary doctorates to Asheville businessman and philanthropist Joe W. Kimmel and to mountaineer and long-time benefactor Robert M. Failing, and also give out a major alumni award as the university holds spring commencement exercises at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at the Ramsey Regional Activity Center.

Kimmel, founder of the Kimmel & Associates executive search firm, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters, and Failing, a retired pathologist who has climbed to the high points on six of the world’s seven continents, will be awarded an honorary doctorate of science. Tony W. Johnson, a widely recognized innovator in teacher education who currently heads the teacher education program at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., will receive the Alumni Award for Academic and Professional Achievement.

Robert M. Failing

Robert M. Failing

Commencement is open to everyone and no tickets are required for admission. Approximately 1,000 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.

A required rehearsal for the students will be held at 9:30 a.m. the day of commencement in the main arena of the Ramsey Center. Students will line up for the processional at 1:15 p.m. in the auxiliary gymnasium on the lower level, west side of the Ramsey Center. The processional will begin at 2 p.m.

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.

Tony W. Johnson

Tony W. Johnson

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.