Students to don caps, gowns for Saturday commencements

Western Carolina University will hold a pair of commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 16, to honor the university’s fall graduating class and a group of newly minted WCU alumni who were awarded degrees after this year’s summer school sessions.

Commencement for undergraduate and graduate students from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Allied Professions, and Fine and Performing Arts will begin at 10 a.m. That will be followed by a 2 p.m. ceremony for undergraduate and graduate students from the colleges of Business, Health and Human Sciences, and Engineering and Technology. Both events will take place at Ramsey Regional Activity Center and are open to everyone, with no tickets are required for admission.

WCU’s fall class includes about 830 students who currently are working on final academic requirements to receive their degrees and who qualify to participate in the ceremony. A group of nearly 300 WCU graduates who completed degree requirements during summer school and who already have been conferred degrees also are eligible to don caps and gowns for the events.

A graduating student will deliver the primary address at each commencement. Christopher Hayden McAteer, a native of Monroe and communication major, will speak at the morning ceremony while Hayley Teresa Twing, a California native who was raised in Sanford and majored in business administration and law at WCU, will provide remarks for the afternoon event.

The Dec. 16 commencements come approximately two weeks before WCU Chancellor David O. Belcher, who has been battling brain cancer, goes on medical leave. Belcher will deliver his charge to the graduating students, and remarks also will be provided by Margaret Spellings, president of the University of North Carolina System, and David M. Powers, a member of the UNC Board of Governors.

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

For those who cannot attend, the ceremonies will be streamed live at

For more information about the two commencements, contact the WCU Registrar’s Office at 828-227-7216 or email