UNCG Celebrates the Transformative Power of Spartans at Fall 2023 Commencement

Posted on December 08, 2023

UNCG celebrates commencement.
UNCG celebrates commencement.

“As you leave here today, take your remarkable real-world impact and education that you earned and make lasting contributions in the lives of others.”

Those were the parting words of Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. when he congratulated nearly 1,900 graduate and undergraduate candidates who crossed the stage during the December 2023 ceremonies. He praised the work they put into earning their degree in classrooms and out in the world.

“You’ve worked hard, and you’ve overcome things big and small,” he said. “You had the support of your faculty, staff, families, and your friends. They helped you make it to this day. They transformed you into an accomplished, analytical striving young professional.”

Student speaker Melissa Lozada, who earned her bachelor of arts in psychology with a musical theatre minor, told them to savor the moment, to take pride in their accomplishments, and to remember all who helped them achieve this dream.

UNCG celebrates commencement.

“To my coworkers and friends, thank you for the good times, belly laughs, study sessions, and support during my times of need,” she said. “Let us also show gratitude to our professors and mentors, for believing in us and everything we’re capable of, for inspiring us to try new things and trust in ourselves. To our families, thank you for everything you’ve sacrificed to get us here and the endless support these past few years. We hope we’ve made you proud.”

It was a joyous Friday for the families who gathered at the Greensboro Coliseum to see the Spartans don their caps and gowns and wave to loved ones as they marched out to music by the UNCG’s brass orchestra.

Dr. Lindsay Draper, DNP, a nursing alumna who is now director of faculty credentialing, compliance and special initiatives, gave the keynote speech to the graduate and doctoral candidates. “Following your dreams is not a linear path,” she said. “It’s a mosaic of experiences, challenges, and triumphs. It’s about daring to dream big, setting bold goals, and having the courage to pursue them despite the uncertainties.”

Chancellor Gilliam recognized all the paths forward for the newest UNCG alumni, whether that be a new career, an advancement in an existing career, or new research endeavors in graduate school. He challenged them all to be leaders for the next generation.

“In the end, UNCG provided you all with opportunities. But it is you who put in the hard work,” Chancellor Gilliam said in his address to graduates. “Employers, pay attention! These are the kinds of people you want to hire. They come in and work hard every day. They don’t take for granted that anything is given to them.”

Story by Janet Imrick, University Communications
Photography by Sean Norona, University Communications; and Bert VanderVeen, VanderVeen Photographers
Video by Grant Evan Gilliard, David Lee Row, Jaysen Buterin, University Communications
Video edited by Grant Evan Gilliard
Video written by Janet Imrick


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