The Pine Needle
The Pine Needle
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Spring 2014 Commencement

Spring 2014 commencements tie UNCP record for largest graduating classes

by Jonathan Bym, Editor

Under shadows of tall pine trees and the Lowry Bell Tower at the university's historic quad, 626 undergraduates from the class of 2014 received their degrees at commencement on May 10.

A total of 173 students from the Graduate School on May 9 brought the graduation awards to 789 total degrees. That tied the record of most degrees conferred by a graduating class set at the spring 2013 commencement.

Spring 2014 undergraduate commencement
Undergraduates at their morning commencement continued a tradition set by Chancellor Carter walking across the Jones Bridge to the ceremony on the quad.  (Photos by Jonathan Bym)

Air Force Brigadier General recalls years at UNCP

United States Air Force Brigadier General Allen Jamerson, a 1983 graduate of Pembroke State University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in criminal justice and a Bachelor of Science in social work in 1986, delivered the commencement speech.

Jamerson is one of UNCP's most decorated alumni. Since graduating, he has worked through the ranks in the Air Force to be promoted to brigadier general in 2012. He currently is responsible for the physical security of the Air Force’s nuclear weapons and 37,000 active-duty and reserve forces.

Commencement Brig. Gen. Jamerson Jamerson recalled his time at UNCP, his experiences in the Air Force, and what he says he has found to be keys to success.

While sitting at the 2014 undergraduate and graduate commencements, Jamerson recalled how he had wanted to be a commencement speaker one day. He challenged the graduates to wish for the same.

 Jamerson told graduates he often is asked "what is the key to success." He replied with a phrase one of his Air Force commanders had said, "Do what brung you." He said that meant to be successful it is important to be true to yourself.

History professor awarded for teaching excellence

Dr. Weston Cook was honored during commencement when he received the UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence. UNC Governor Joan Perry, M.D., presented the award to Dr. Cook, a professor in the history department, and read comments from his students.

The commencement ceremony lasted slightly longer than the two hours from 9-11 a.m., which the university had reserved for all railroad traffic on the nearby railroad tracks passing through campus to be stopped.