Commencements set for Friday, Saturday

Some 1,250 members of Western Carolina University’s spring graduating class will be honored for their academic achievements as the university holds a trio of commencement ceremonies over a two-day period, May 6-7, at Ramsey Regional Activity Center.

Commencement for WCU’s Graduate School will be held at 7 p.m. Friday, May 6. Commencement for the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Allied Professions, and Fine and Performing Arts will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 7, and that event will be followed the same day by a 3:30 p.m. ceremony for the College of Business, College of Health and Human Sciences, and Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology.

Three commencements were planned to accommodate the number of graduating students who will be participating, as well as the audiences expected to attend. WCU’s ceremonies are open to everyone, with no limit on the number of family members and friends who can attend.

The events will include recognition of the service of WCU Chancellor John W. Bardo, who will be presiding over his last commencements as the university’s chief executive. Bardo will be stepping down from his position July 1.

Bardo will deliver his charge to the degree candidates at all three ceremonies. Tom Ross, president of the University of North Carolina system, will attend the afternoon commencement on May 7 and present the UNC system’s highest teaching honor, the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, to Aaron K. Ball, WCU professor of engineering and technology. Ball will deliver the primary address at the Friday night Graduate School ceremony.

Traffic is always heavy for commencement on WCU’s campus, and university officials urge those attending to plan on arriving at the Ramsey Center at least one hour before the events begin. On-campus shuttle services will be available for the three ceremonies.

WCU police recommend that those attending the events consider using route 1002 (Old Cullowhee Road) to access campus through the back entrance. Police also request that drivers refrain from dropping off visitors while sitting in travel lanes around the Ramsey Center, as that endangers the visitors and creates traffic backups.

More driving and parking information, including a map of traffic patterns, is available at this website.

For more general information about WCU’s May commencements, contact the university’s registrar’s office at 828-227-7216.