Rocky Mount, N.C. – North Carolina Wesleyan College held its 2011 May Commencement on Sunday in the Dunn Center and saw nearly 200 candidates receive diplomas. In addition to the District of Columbia, seven countries and eleven different states combined to represent the largest graduating class in over eight years.
The keynote speaker was Senator Richard Burr, who challenged graduates to embrace the challenges facing today’s society by choosing to “participate in the solutions of our most pressing problems.”
Said Burr, “We are facing one of the most challenging economic periods in our nation’s history … but we will emerge stronger and more prosperous on the other side. This is the greatness of America!”
“Carry the name of North Carolina Wesleyan proudly,” continued Burr, a graduate of Wake Forest University who serves as a Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and sits on several others, including Intelligence. “Make the world better tomorrow than you found it today.”
Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees Chairman Velma H. Johnson later presented Senator Burr with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments.
Prior to Burr’s address, NCWC Chaplain Barry Drum delivered a brief baccalaureate sermon that touched on perseverance. At the end of the ceremony, the graduates were inducted as a group into the Alumni Association by Alumni Association President Christopher Davis.
Special awards were presented to faculty members Carl and Jackie Lewis, who received the College’s Exemplary Teacher Award and Faculty Tribute; Desiree’ Driver, the 2011 recipient of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award; and Joshua K. Akers, winner of the President’s Cup.