Dec. graduates to include nation’s first recipients of master’s in entrepreneurship

CULLOWHEE – Western Carolina University will celebrate a historic “first” at its Saturday, Dec. 18, commencement, honoring a graduating class that includes the first four candidates for master’s degrees in entrepreneurship in U.S. history.

Fall commencement will begin at 2 p.m. at the Ramsey Regional Activity Center. The ceremony 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.

Entrepreneurship as an academic major came to Western in fall 2001 as the university began offering a bachelor’s degree program to prepare students to successfully launch and manage business ventures. Western’s master’s degree program in entrepreneurship began enrolling students in fall 2003, and Western’s program is still the only master’s-level entrepreneurship program offered in the United States .

Western senior Brandon Alexander Robinson, a resident of Mocksville, will deliver the primary commencement address by virtue of his winning essay in a contest sponsored by the university’s Honors College. Open to all Western students, the essay contest is held each fall, and the author of the winning essay earns the honor of delivering that composition at the December ceremony.

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

A required rehearsal for the graduating students will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 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 Ramsey Center 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.