Folt presided over the ceremony and introduced each speaker, including UNC-system President Tom Ross, who said his presence at the December
commencement would be his last public act as system president.
Ross commended the recent
graduates and praised Folt:
“There is not a
single chancellor in the entire University system that I am more proud of than
Carol Folt,” Ross said. “Carol has come into the seat of chancellor of this
great University during difficult times and she has handled her position
Kelly Hogan, director of instructional innovation for the
College of Arts and Sciences and a senior STEM lecturer, was the December commencement
speaker. She made her address to the new graduates and audience members interactive.
To begin her speech, Hogan asked for anyone with a smart
phone to take it out and have it ready.
“Today, I’ll stress the importance of embracing the
diversity you’ve grown to appreciate in your time at UNC,” Hogan said. “By
truly understanding the perspectives of others, we know you will continue to
accomplish great things.”
She shared with the audience how she changed her perspective as an educator — from a teacher-centered approach to a learner-centered
“I might apologize to
many of the first few thousand students I taught,” Hogan said. “I may not have
believed in them the way I wholeheartedly believe in you.”
She asked graduates and audience members to think of a time
when their perspective changed and to use their phones to answer an online
“What was the most important in causing your change of
perspective? A. Data or Evidence B. Better understanding of someone C. Culture
around me changed D. Other,” she asked.
Hogan said learning more about the
perspectives of her students through data caused her to question the effectiveness of her teaching methods.
She also used visual representation to show the diversity of
the graduates by asking students to stand when a certain
demographic pertained to them. Some of the characteristics included “members of
the military,” “transfer students” and “changed their major at least once.”
Hogan urged graduates to take
every opportunity available to challenge and widen their perspectives and to
open themselves up to vulnerability and risks in order to achieve what scholar
and author Brené Brown considers a “wholehearted life.”
“Graduates, it may not be obvious to you yet — but when you
take a risk, you also set yourself up for life’s greatest rewards,” she said.