May 2017 Commencement


Hat toss during December 2016 Commencement

UNC Asheville May Commencement

Saturday, May 13, 9 a.m.
UNC Asheville Kimmel Arena in the Sherrill Center

Receptions to follow in the lobbies of Rhoades-Robinson Hall (Natural Sciences), Lipinsky Hall (Humanities, University Programs, and Student Affairs), and Karpen Hall (Social Sciences).

Please join us as we celebrate the graduates, and share your experience on social media. Tag your posts and photos with #uncavl2017 and follow the event online at and

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.

Commencement Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipients

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.

Information for Graduates

The Registrar’s Office provides important dates and deadlines for graduationIf you are a prospective graduate and have not been receiving e-mails concerning graduation, please notify Alicia Shope at Reminders of the dates and deadlines will be sent through e-mail.    

UNC Asheville’s May 2017 Commencement will take place on Saturday, May 13, at 9 a.m., at Kimmel Arena in the Sherrill Center. Graduates need to line up at 8 a.m. 

No food or drink, including water, can be brought onto the Kimmel Arena floor. 

May 12 Rehearsal Breakfast

A rehearsal breakfast for the graduates will be held on Friday, May 12, at 8:30 a.m. in the Student Recreation Center. Following breakfast, the commencement rehearsal will begin at 10 a.m. and graduates are required to attend. Due to limited space, family and friends are not able to attend the breakfast. 

Information for Friends and Families

We welcome families and friends to campus to celebrate Commencement at UNC Asheville. For accommodations, the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Asheville is offering a 15% discount for families for Commencement weekend. Call the hotel to receive the discount, or use the corporate code UNCA online. Please visit our accommodations page for other preferred places to stay, and use our campus maps and driving directions to find your way to campus. 


Each graduate will receive seven tickets at rehearsal to share with friends and family. Graduates are encouraged to share tickets they don’t need with their classmates prior to the ceremony.


Graduates may request a special parking permit from the front desk of Weizenblatt Hall May 12-13 or at the Friday Commencement Rehearsal for any friends and family members in need of accessible parking. Accessible parking is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Transportation and Public Safety staff will be available upon arrival to direct guests to the appropriate parking areas.

Upon arrival, guests will be directed to available parking, and then may opt for a short walk, or use one of several shuttles that will be circulating University Heights. 

Venue Information

Kimmel Arena doors will open at 7:30 a.m., and volunteers will be on hand to assist beginning at 7:30 a.m. 

Accessible seating for guests is available in multiple locations. Guests with limited mobility may see any usher or volunteer for assistance in locating accessible seating. 

Backpacks are not allowed in Kimmel Arena, and bags will be checked at the door. Weapons are not permitted. Please do not bring balloons or air horns into Kimmel Arena. 

No food or drinks are allowed in the blechers of Kimmel Arena. Concessions will be available, with food and drink allowed on the concourse and scholarship deck areas of the arena. 

Lost and Found will be located in Sherrill Center 417. 

Please check this page for updates as Commencement approaches.

Weather information and any emergency announcements will be posted online and available through Bulldog Alert – UNC Asheville’s emergency information system.

Information for Alumni

Congratulations to UNC Asheville’s newest graduates. If you have any questions as you begin your transition from student to alumna/us, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 828.251.6512 or

UNC Asheville Alumni Association

Since the Association’s founding in 1947, lifetime membership has been a gift of the university to its graduates.  The association helps alumni stay connected to their alma mater, classmates, friends, faculty and staff, as well as to connect with alumni throughout the United States and in more than 50 countries. To learn more about the Association, its activities and benefits go to

Social Networking: Stay connected to your alma mater through the following social networks.

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Class Notes and Information Update: Help us stay connected by keeping us informed of changes to your contact information and share with us news about your life after UNC Asheville. Update Your Information Now

Career Services & Transcripts

Career Services: UNC Asheville graduates receive all the services of the UNC Asheville Career Center at no charge throughout their lives.  To learn about upcoming events, online job postings and more go to

Transcripts: Transcripts are provided to UNC Asheville graduates at no charge from the University in person or online with a small processing charge from the National Student Clearinghouse. For more information go to

Preserving the Memory

View the full May 2017 Commencement Ceremony online.

If you have questions about Commencement, email or contact Cultural Events & Special Academic Programs at 828.251.6674.