UNC Asheville to Celebrate Commencement on May 13

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UPDATED MAY 11, 2017: Due to inclement weather, UNC Asheville’s May 2017 Commencement, originally scheduled on the University Quad, will be held indoors at Kimmel Arena on campus. Commencement begins at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 13

UNC Asheville will celebrate its May 2017 Commencement, with the ceremony scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 13 on the University Quad, with Chancellor Mary K. Grant presiding.

Alumna Ko Barrett will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree.  Dr. Olson Huff, M.D., Stoney Lamar and Ellen Bird also will receive honorary degrees.

Barrett is the deputy assistant administrator for research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), supervising the daily operations and administration of NOAA’s research enterprise, and the execution of NOAA programs including the Climate Program Office, Ocean Acidification Program, the National Sea Grant College Program, Ocean Exploration and Research, and the Office of Weather and Air Quality research.

Huff, who also will receive a Doctor of Science degree, has practiced pediatrics in Asheville since 1987. Under his leadership, Mission Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital in Western North Carolina, was formed. The Olson Huff Center for Child Development became a part of the Children’s Hospital in 1996. Having been appointed by the governor, Huff serves on the N.C. Early Childhood Advisory Council.

Lamar, a woodturner and sculptor who lives and works in Saluda, N.C., has exhibited his works in the American Craft Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, and the Renwick Gallery of the Museum of American Art at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. He was a founding member of the American Association of Woodturners, and board president of the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design. He will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree.

Bird, an elder of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, was recently given the title of Beloved Woman, a designation bestowed upon Cherokee women who are highly respected for their service to the community, their integrity and their good character. A fluent Cherokee speaker, she has shared her knowledge of Cherokee traditions, including medicines, quilting and food, not only with her 10 children, but also with the community. She will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

UNC Asheville’s May 2017 Commencement will celebrate the May and August 2017 graduates, together expected to number more than 510. Friends and family of the graduates are invited to the ceremony, which will be held outdoors on the Quad. For more information, visit news.unca.edu/commencement.