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Dear Colleagues:

We invite you to join us for the joyous events of Commencement Weekend 2011 on Saturday, May 7 (Hooding of Ph.D.s) and Sunday, May 8, 2011 (Commencement).  More information about Commencement is available at

Our students’ accomplishments are remarkable, and their friends and families value our roles as teachers, mentors, and scholars. Commencement events are central to building a sense of community within our University.  You’re invited to wear academic regalia, but you are welcome regardless.

The Doctoral Hooding ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 7, at 10 a.m. in the Dean Smith Center.  The featured speaker will be NYU Professor of Music Suzanne Cusick, an expert on gender and sexuality in the musical cultures of early modern Italy and contemporary North America who received her Ph.D. in musicology here at UNC.

Each graduate will be called to the stage to receive the doctoral hood from his or her advisor.  Non-hooding faculty members who wish to march in the academic processional should arrive at the Smith Center (Entrance A) no later than 9:30 a.m. and take the elevator or stairs down to the first floor.  Marshals will be there to direct you to the line-up site. More information about the hooding ceremony may be found at: .

University Commencement is on Sunday May 8 at 9:30 a.m. in Kenan Stadium.  This year’s speaker is Harvard professor and Pulitzer Prize winner, entomologist E. O. Wilson, whose works on biodiversity have fostered public understanding of science and spurred the cause of conservation.

We will honor our graduating students and the following outstanding recipients of honorary degrees: speaker Wilson; Timothy B. Burnett (UNC alumnus, philanthropic supporter, and former Board of Trustees chair); Mary Sue Coleman (UNC alumna, biochemist, and President of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor); Ernest Gaines (acclaimed author of A Lesson Before Dying and other works exploring the African-American experience); John Grisham (best-selling author of 23 novels, including The Firm); and Dwight T. Pitcaithley (former Chief Historian of the National Park Service).

Faculty will gather on the second floor of the Kenan Football Center at 9:00 a.m.  Parking for faculty attending the Sunday ceremony will be available in the new Bell Tower Deck.   Faculty Marshal Valerie Ashby will lead the faculty processional.  This year Commencement will be held in Kenan Stadium rain or shine. If it rains during the ceremony, the ceremony may be shortened, or if the weather is severe, the ceremony will be cancelled.

Many of you have attended Commencement in the past, and we welcome you again.  For those who have yet to participate in this venerable academic tradition, please join us. We look forward to seeing you there.

Sincerely yours,

McKay Coble, Faculty Chair

Valerie Ashby, Faculty Marshal

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