UNCG 125th Commencement

A graduate makes a reference to the graduation date — and “Star Wars” — on her mortar board at UNCG's commencement on May 4, 2018.

Area colleges and universities will hold commencements starting this weekend and running throughout May. 

The list below is of May 2019 graduation and baccalaureate ceremonies for colleges and universities in and around Greensboro and Winston-Salem. (And scroll down for some of the bigger ceremonies from around the state.) Unless noted, commencement events are open to the public. Most ceremonies can be watched online as they happen; visit a school's website for details.

Click the links in each section for more information about commencement at each school.

Here's the 2019 schedule:

May 4

Guilford College: Commencement will start at 9 a.m. on campus. The speaker will be Johnnetta Cole, the past president of both Bennett College and Spelman College and the retired director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. Guilford plans to award Cole an honorary doctorate. Baccalaureate will be at 11 p.m. May 3 in Dana Auditorium.

Bennett College: Commencement will be held at 10 a.m. on the main campus quad. The speaker is Kwanza Jones, an investor, philanthropist and founder and CEO of the lifestyle brand SUPERCHARGED. (You might remember Jones from the final day of the Stand with Bennett campaign in February, when she and her husband, José E. Feliciano, announced a $1 million donation to the college.) Baccalaureate will at 6 p.m. May 3 in the Annie Merner Pfeiffer Chapel on campus. The speaker will be the Rev. Howard-John Wesley, pastor of Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va.

UNC School of the Arts: Commencement will be held at 10 a.m. at the Stevens Center in downtown Winston-Salem. Broadway music director and alumna Mary-Mitchell Campbell will speak. Tickets are required for the event.

May 9

Forsyth Tech: Commencement will be held at 5 p.m. at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem. Janet Spriggs, the college's new president, will deliver the keynote address.

GTCC: Commencement will start at 7 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum. Speaker is Michelle Gethers-Clark, president and CEO of the United Way of Greater Greensboro. 

May 10

Winston-Salem State University: Commencement will start at 8:45 a.m. at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Kwanza Jones, the lifestyle brand CEO who will speak at Bennett College's gradation May 4, will address WSSU graduates. One important note: WSSU will trade its traditional black graduation robes for red this year.

UNCG: The area's largest commencement — UNCG expects to award more than 2,500 degrees — will be held at 10 a.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum. Actor, comic and Greensboro native Ken Jeong will speak. UNCG's doctoral hooding ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. May 9 in UNCG Auditorium.

May 11

N.C. A&T: A&T will have two commencement ceremonies May 11. The undergraduate ceremony will start at 8:30 a.m. in the Greensboro Coliseum. That's followed by the graduate ceremony (for master's and doctoral students) at 1:30 p.m. in the coliseum's Special Events Center. Willie Deese, an A&T alum and retired pharmaceutical executive who's also co-chairman of A&T's current fundraising campaign, will speak to undergraduates. Marshall M. Williams, the principal deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Army, will speak at the afternoon event. Click here for more on both speakers.

High Point University: Commencement will start 9 a.m. on the lawn in front of Roberts Hall. Speaker is the theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, co-founder of string theory. Baccalaureate will be 4 p.m. May 10 at Wesley United Methodist Church; Jeff Patterson, the church's senior pastor, will speak. Note that HPU commencement events are open only to graduates and invited guests.

Greensboro College: Commencement will start at 10 a.m. in front of the Main Building. The speaker is George Johnson, a college trustee and former dean of Elon University School of Law. Baccalaureate will be held at 5 p.m. May 10 in the Gail Brower Huggins Performance Center inside the Odell Building. The keynote speaker is the Rev. Ben Roberts, an alumnus and associate pastor and director of social justice at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. Baccalaureate is limited to graduates and their families, college employees and invited guests. 

May 20

Wake Forest University: Commencement will start at 9 a.m. on Hearn Plaza on campus. Speaker is Fred Ryan, publisher of the Washington Post newspaper and co-founder of the online political news organization Politico. Baccalaureate is 9 a.m. May 19 in Wait Chapel; Gary Haugen, CEO and founder of International Justice Mission, will speak. Tickets are required for Wake Forest commencement events.

May 24

Elon University: Elon overhauled its graduation ceremony this year with a new format and a new day of the week. Commencement exercises for all undergraduates will start at 8:45 a.m. outside in Scott Plaza on campus. Al Drago, an alumnus and photojournalist, will speak. The main commencement event will be followed by two separate diploma ceremonies both at the Schar Center. The ceremony for arts and sciences and education graduates will start at 11:30 a.m., followed by the ceremony for business and communications graduates at 3:30 p.m. (Tickets are required for both Schar Center events.) Baccalaureate will be at 3 p.m. May 23 at Alumni Gym. The Rev. Jennifer Bailey, founder and executive director of the Faith Matters Network in Nashville, will speak.

May 25

Salem College: Commencement will be held at 9:30 a.m. at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem. 


A glance at some of North Carolina's largest commencement ceremonies:

East Carolina University: 7 p.m. May 3 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Speaker is Emily Procter, an actress who starred in TV's "The West Wing" and "CSI: Miami."

• UNC-Charlotte: Three commencement ceremonies are scheduled over two days: at 5 p.m. May 10 (art and architecture, business, health and human services), 10 a.m. May 11 (computing and informatics, education, engineering) and 4 p.m. May 11 (liberal arts and sciences). Tickets are required for all three ceremonies, which will be held in Halton Arena on campus.

• N.C. State University: 9 a.m. May 11 at PNC Arena. Ginni Rometty, the chairman, president and CEO of IBM, will speak.

• UNC-Chapel Hill: 9 a.m. May 12 at Kenan Memorial Stadium. Habitat for Humanity CEO Jonathan T.M. Reckford will speak.

• Duke University: 9 a.m. May 12 at Wallace Wade Stadium. Speaker is Lisa Borders, former WNBA president and former CEO of the women's advocacy group TIME'S UP.

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Contact John Newsom at (336) 373-7312 and follow @JohnNewsomNR on Twitter.​

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