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WSSU celebrates class of 2014 graduation at Bowman Gray

By The News Argus Staff
On April 23, 2014

Winston-Salem State will host commencement for the first time in the Bowman Gray Stadium at 9:45 a.m. May 16.

In previous years, commencement has been held at Lawrence Joel Veteran Memorial Coliseum; how­ever this year, with WSSU's purchase of Bowman Gray Stadium, the commencement committee decided to bring the ceremony close to campus.

Letitia Wall, assistant provost for administration and planning, said there are approximately 1,600 students who qualified to be a part of commencement exercises, but only 1,000 have sent an RSVP.

"This is where people spent four to six years of their lives," Wall said.

"We thought that it would be a great tradition to leave the place where you started."

Bowman Gray Stadium seats 20,000, approximately 5,000 more than LJVM Coliseum multi-purpose area.

Keiada Holmes, senior mass communications major from Hartsville, S.C. said she is pleased with and strongly supports the changes to commencement this year.

Holmes is the president of the senior class council and one of two WSSU students on the commencement committee.

"The class of 2014 will set the legacy of graduation at our new owned stadium," Holmes said.

Last year, seniors were disappointed by the number of tickets distributed,; this year's there is no limitation on the number of guests.

In case of rain, the ceremonies will be moved to the LJVM Coliseum.

Anthony Sumter, senior marketing major from Raleigh, said he has heard some of the new changes of commencement and it should be a nice event if everything goes as planned.Each year, the Senior Class Council provides the commencement committee with a list of people they request to have speak at commencement.

The com­mittee is comprised of faculty and stu­dents in senior class council. They go through the list and contact the individuals on the list firstly, to see how much it will cost to bring them to WSSU, Wall said.

"This year's list included names like Magic Johnson and Steve Harvey. In contact­ing those requests, the cost to bring them here was way out of anything we would pay for," Wall said. "So those were immediately eliminated."

Next they look for relevance and merit of each possible person, and when they decide on a person that would be a good fit, Wall said they then send the recommendations to the provost and the chancellor to be approved by them.

The speaker for com­mencement will be Steven Pemberton, the chief diversity officer and divisional vice president for Walgreens Inc., and he was not on the list of people the senior class council created.

"His story is one of survival in the midst of a lot of chal­lenging situations. So we think he will be a great inspiration as our graduates prepare to go out," Wall said.


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