Spring Commencement 2014 at Kimmel Arena

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UNC Asheville’s 2014 Commencement Speaker Arthur Levine addressed a new generation of college students during the May 10 spring ceremony.

“Yours is a generation living simultaneously in two worlds,” the author and higher education expert told the Class of 2014, “one that’s fading away – the world in which your parents and professors grew up. And other that’s being born – the world in which you’re going to live your lives. Our hopes and dreams are with you – we need you.”

Levine has insight into this generation of students, having analyzed surveys and interviews with students and officials at 31 campuses for his co-authored book, Generation on a Tightrope: A Portrait of Today’s College Student. Levine currently serves as president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and also has held leadership and faculty positions at Columbia University and Harvard University.

“We need your help as part of the most diverse generation in U.S. history – we need your help to knit together a deeply divided nation,” said Levine. “We need your help in dreaming, designing and developing a new world tied together by technology. … We need your abilities and imaginations to create the first global society in history. … Tomorrow’s going to require leaders who want to help heal a pained nation and a troubled world – you can make a difference. … Making a difference is your birthright.”

The 455 May graduates were joined in Kimmel Arena by thousands of loved ones who shared in special moments and shared their congratulations on social media. The event was moved indoors due to forecasts of rain.

View the UNC Asheville 2014 Commencement Storify for more from social media.

Read more about UNC Asheville’s award-winning graduates and honorary degrees in the Commencement news release.   

*Slideshow photos by Matt Rose and Peter Lorenz.