The Pine Needle
The Pine Needle
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Commencement Speakers Announced

Commencement Speakers AnnouncedSpeaker 1

By Jonathan Bym, Editor

The university announced that North Carolina Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson will be the keynote speaker at the spring graduate commencement and New York Times bestselling author Wes Moore will speak during the undergraduate exercise.

Speaker 2

Stephenson, who taught for 32 years in the English department, was installed as the Poet Laureate on Feb. 2.

Before retiring in 2010, he taught courses in creative writing and literature at UNCP.

A well-respected peer in the North Carolina literary community, Stephenson was inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2014. He has had several pieces of his work become widely recognized.

Moore is a graduate from Johns Hopkins University and his novel “The Other Wes Moore” is a mandatory reading assignment for the freshman classes at UNCP. The book explores the effects of choices on Moore’s life.Moore was named a Rhodes Scholar and studied at Oxford University. He was a White House fellow to Condoleezza Rice.

After college, he served a tour in Afghanistan as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army.

A committee of seven people, made up of UNCP students, faculty, staff and administrators came up with several nominations along with some nominations from the senior class.

The committee trimmed it down to nine candidates and Moore was decided as the one fitting to come deliver the message.

Other nominations were ABC News Correspondent Byron Pitts, UNCP Board of Trustees member and retired Navy Admiral Michael Holmes, the inspiration for the movie “Coach Carter” Ken Carter, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas and former chairman of the U.S. Reserve Ben Bernake.

Top Photo is Shelby Stephenson. Bottom Photo is Wes Moore.