Over 1,500 Fayetteville State University graduates
More than 1,500 Fayetteville State University graduates received their pomp and circumstance on Saturday in a year that began with whether graduation would take place.
Graduates donned masks in two separate ceremonies at Luther “Nick” Jeralds Stadium, as the state begins to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chancellor Darrel Allison, who was also the keynote speaker, said when he officially started working at the university on March 15, it was not clear whether this year’s ceremony would be virtual like in 2020 .
After university officials decided to hold the launch ceremonies in a safe space while respecting COVID-19 restrictions, Allison said students in the class of 2021 were also advocating the participation of graduates of the class. 2020.
âIt was important to so many people,â Allison said.
About a hundred graduates of the class of 2020 participated in the ceremonies on Saturday.
After:FSU spring 2021 graduation
Allison said he recognizes the timing is very important to students who may be the first graduates in their families – the adult learner 25 or older who has had to stop several times during the traditional journey to get a diploma, recent member of military service, or graduate that no one thought would succeed.
âThis moment means a lot to you,â Allison said. âIt means so much to us; and graduates, you’ve done it.
The words of the graduates:
Among the more than 600 graduates of FSU’s College of Education and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences attending the first ceremony was Jovonte Thomas.
Thomas, who is from Bunnlevel, said he wanted to attend FSU because being a historically black college or university meant a lot to him.
âThere are faces that look like me and faces that don’t look like me, and we all come together,â said Thomas, who is Black. “That’s what matters most to me.”
Thomas, who earned a degree in criminal justice, said he was considering his options for business opportunities with his current employer or jobs in the security industry to determine what is best for himself.
âThis is one more step towards a better future,â he said of graduating from college.
Solomon Ojo, originally from Brooklyn, also received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
Ojo said he considers it an honor to attend FSU, and he will miss it.
He said he was still learning what it means to have a degree, because he had just earned it.
“But I’m expecting a lot of good things,” he said, adding that he was planning to continue his education but is taking a break to see what things look like because of the pandemic.
Elizabeth Madyun, of Wade; Cheryel Hinkle, of Fayetteville; and Shelia Latimore of Hope Mills all graduated with their Masters in Educational Administration.
The group said they had internship opportunities at Cumberland County schools during the two-year graduate program and that earning their master’s degree means they would be Fayetteville’s future education officials.
âI know it sounds clichÃ©, but we absolutely have to keep moving forward, and it’s never too late,â Madyun said of his advice to others. “Some things are delayed, but they are not denied.”
Hinkle said it was about persistence.
âAnd all the hard work that we had to do and endure, to finally reach this day, I’m so excited and it’s very rewarding,â she said.
Allison told graduates that graduation is like putting punctuation on stories in their lives.
For some, he says, it’s a comma as they strive for higher degrees.
For others, it is a period because they have achieved their goal; and for others it’s an exclamation mark due to obstacles or issues in life, Allison said.
âNo matter your race, age, gender, country of origin, how much money you have or not, or how unique your personal history is, you’ve all come to the right place for the proper punctuation. to end this chapter in your last sentence here at Fayetteville State University, âAllison said.
He recognized friends and family who encouraged the graduates or helped financially during their studies.
Allison told the crowd that the word “beginning” is defined as a beginning or a beginning.
He told the graduates that Saturday marked a new day in their lives.
âYou are more than prepared to boldly face your future,â Allison said. âWe have all built on your success. Now make us proud of us Bronco.
FSU board chairman Stuart Augustine told graduates to make a positive impact on someone else’s life.
Richard Kingsberry, president of the FSU National Alumni Association, encouraged graduates to have a sense of humor.
âLife is difficult and stressful,â Kingsberry said. “If you can get and maintain a sense of humor, you can have the final say.”
Sydney Harris, president of the FSU Student Government Association, told graduates she recognizes the obstacles they face – “a pandemic, a social injustice, a presidential election, all of this in addition to the daily obstacles that we face as students.
After:Fayetteville State Chancellor looks to go big with new summer program to boost graduation rates
âFor that, you should celebrate as much as possible,â said Harris. “You really set out our motto res non verba, deeds, not words.”
For those who were unable to attend Saturday’s ceremony, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences diploma is posted online.
The ceremony from the Broadwell College of Business and Economics and the College of Health, Science and Technology is also online.
Editor-in-Chief Rachael Riley can be reached at [email protected]