DURHAM N.C. Central University awarded 560 diplomas Saturday during the university’s 126th annual commencement exercises.
Speaker Tom Ross, president of the UNC system, gave his final major address to a university audience as president of the UNC system.
“NCCU is a very special place to give my last commencement speech,” he said.
Ross gave graduates advice on how to be a great leader. “To be a effective leader: know yourself; communicate well; care for yourself; clarify your values; embrace differences; involve others with talent; and take risks,” said Ross.
“We need leaders now more than ever. Each of you can be a strong effective leader,” he told the audience.
NCCU presented Ross with a formal commendation recognizing his achievements as a proponent for public higher education in North Carolina.
During the ceremony, NCCU Chancellor Debra Saunders-White recognized Department of Public Health Education graduate Salima Taylor.
Taylor is a native of Durham, whose been a student leader at NCCU helped establish the university’s community garden in 2013 and had a summer internship in Gaborone, Botswana. She will continue her research studies at Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management before applying to medical school.
Saunders-White closed with words of encouragement to graduates: “I charge you to eradicate the world of fear, because in fear we will never succeed. Soar and be great, for it is not enough to be leaders but also be change agents. Stand and dare others to do the right thing everyday of your life.”