Honorary Doctorate, Alumni Award to be Presented at WCU Commencement

Western Carolina University will bestow an honorary doctorate on a longtime public health leader and recognize a business and community leader with a major alumni award when the university holds spring commencement exercises on Saturday, May 12.

Commencement will begin at 2pm in the Liston B. Ramsey Regional Activity Center.

Approximately 740 students are candidates for undergraduate and graduate degrees, pending final examinations and review. The ceremony is open to everyone. No tickets are required for admission.

The recipients of the honorary doctorate and alumni award both live in Asheville.

Mary King Kneedler, the first head of WCU’s department of nursing, will be awarded an honorary doctor of science degree. Now retired, Kneedler played an instrumental role in both the establishment of WCU’s nursing program, and in the creation of the national Head Start early childhood program.

The Alumni Award for Professional Achievement will be presented to G. Gordon Greenwood, president and chief executive officer of the Bank of Asheville. Greenwood began his banking career in Asheville shortly after receiving his bachelor’s degree in business administration from WCU in 1969. He lends his time to many community and humanitarian organizations in the Asheville area and the region.

WCU Chancellor John W. Bardo will preside over the ceremony and deliver the charge to the graduates. Richard J. Collings, vice chancellor for academic affairs, will preside over the presentation of degrees.

A required rehearsal for the graduates will be held from 9:30 to 11am the day of commencement in the main arena of the Ramsey Center. Graduating students will line up for the processional at 1:15pm in the auxiliary gymnasium on the lower level, west side of the Ramsey Center. The processional will begin at 2pm.

Receptions for graduates and their families and friends will be held in the Ramsey Center following commencement. Receptions for undergraduate students (recipients of bachelor’s degrees) will be held on the Ramsey Center concourse in a designated area for each college, while a reception for graduate students (master’s and doctoral degrees) will be held in the Ramsey 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.

There will be no access to the arena floor during the awarding of diplomas. A commercial photographer will photograph each graduate as the diploma is awarded, and will be available to take pictures after the ceremony.

Faculty marshals for the commencement exercises are Kathy Ivey (chief), Katie Ray (vice chief), B.J. Dunlap, Mark Honegger and Julie Smaglik Temple.

Student marshals are Rudranath Beharrysingh, Lynette Bohn, Summer Braswell, Tamatha Cabe, Greg Culp, Johnathan Dean, Donna DePietropaolo, Patricia Glinski, Elizabeth Hanson, Rhonda Izzard, Brooke Kennedy, Michelle Masten, Crystal Olson, Jennifer Payne, Matt Smith, Dustin Stamey, Amanda Stewart and Bonnie Warren.