UNCW Celebrates the Class of 2017 During Spring Commencement Ceremonies

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Four commencement ceremonies for the UNCW Class of 2017 were held May 5-6 in Trask Coliseum. More than 2,200 undergraduates, 400 graduate students and 15 doctoral students participated in UNCW’s 93rd commencement exercises – the largest to date.

"Graduates, I have a few words of wisdom to share with you: first, always remember that you are Seahawks," Chancellor Jose V. Sartarelli said during the ceremonies. "Second, no matter where your life takes you, give flight to your imagination. Third, when you achieve new heights, remember to share your success with your family, your community and your alma mater."

The ceremonies were streamed live for remote viewing, and rebroadcasts will be shown via The Learning Network at a later time. Commencement highlights also are available in a photo gallery produced by the Office of University Relations.

Previously published information about the ceremonies and speakers follows:

Friday, May 5:
2 p.m. – Cameron School of Business
Guest speaker: Donald E. Godwin '69, Chairman and CEO of GodwinBowman & Martinez

5:30 p.m. – Watson College of Education and the College of Health and Human Services
Guest speaker: Bobbie J. Cavnar, 2016 North Carolina Teacher of the Year

Saturday, May 6:
9:30 a.m. – Sciences and Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences
Guest speaker: Susan McCaffray, UNCW Professor of History

1 p.m. – Creative Arts, Social Sciences and Graduate Liberal Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences
Guest speaker: Kemille Moore, UNCW College of Arts and Sciences Associate Dean

Commencement 2017 speaker bios:
For nearly 40 years, Donald E. Godwin ’69 has tried significant jury cases in courts throughout Texas and the nation. He has been included on the “Texas Super Lawyers” list 14 consecutive times and on the list of the “Top 100 Super Lawyers in Texas” and “Top 100 Lawyers in Dallas-Fort Worth.” He received his J.D. from the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law and a master’s in accounting from the University of Memphis.

Bobbie Cavnar’s teaching philosophy is built on the belief that education access should be free, public and equal to all Americans. He has taught and chaired the English department at South Point High School in Gaston County for the past 13 years. A five-time recipient of his school’s “Most Inspirational Educator Award,” he has also been honored as a North Carolina State University Inspirational Teacher of the Year; Gaston County Schools’ Teacher of the Year; the 2016 Southwest Region Teacher of the Year and most recently, the 2016-17 Burroughs Wellcome Fund North Carolina Teacher of the Year.

Kemille Moore has served as UNCW associate dean for student policy and curriculum coordination since 2014. From 2002 to 2006, she was director of UNCW’s General College and led its growth and transition into University College. As dean of University College, she was instrumental in the curricular development and implementation of programs for first-year students such as Cornerstone Learning Communities and the Synergy Common Reading Program. She is a member of the Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and teaches in UNCW’s art and art history department.

Susan McCaffray has taught Russian history at UNCW for 29 years. She has authored numerous articles and books on the history of imperial Russia, traveling to that country, Finland and Poland many times. Former chair of the history department, she is a past recipient of the Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award. She earned both her Ph.D. and master’s from Duke University.

-- Caroline Cropp