Record Number of Graduate Students Honored at Spring Commencement

Graduates celebrate with confetti overhead
Thursday, May 23, 2024
The commencement week celebrations included the Elevating Excellence event for doctoral graduates.

A record total of 1,689 doctoral, master’s and certificate degrees were conferred at the Spring 2024 Graduate Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11 at the Dale F. Halton Arena.  Degrees conferred included 135 doctoral, 1,183 master’s and 371 graduate certificates. 

The University hosted multiple ceremonies May 10-11, conferring more than 5,100 degrees. Graduates in the Class of 2024 represented 55 countries, 36 U.S. states and 89 North Carolina counties. The youngest graduate was 19, and the most seasoned graduate was 72.

During the week leading up to commencement, The Graduate School Interim Dean Pinku Mukherjee hosted Elevating Excellence: Celebrating Doctoral Students and Advisors. The event recognized the impressive work of graduating doctoral students and the support provided by their advisors.

Thill Selected as Commencement Marshall

Jean-Claude Thill served as University marshal for the spring Graduate School commencement ceremony.

Jean-Claude Thill on stage as marshal

Thill is the Knight Distinguished Professor of Public Policy in the Department of Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences in the College of Humanities & Earth and Social Sciences. His research encompasses transportation and mobility systems, urban and regional science, geospatial data science and place-based policy analysis. Thill, who has published extensively, was recognized among the top 2% of most cited scholars by a Stanford University study. In 2022, he received the First Citizens Bank Scholars Medal, UNC Charlotte’s most prestigious faculty award.

University marshal is an honor bestowed on distinguished faculty members. Representing the faculty at University ceremonial functions, including commencement, they are symbols of faculty excellence and leadership in teaching, professional achievement and service to campus and community.

3MT Winner Addresses 2024 Commencement

Abhishek Shibu, Ph.D. in Nanoscale Science ‛24 and a former 3-Minute Thesis winner, addressed the Class of 2024.

Abhishek Shibu, Ph.D. in Nanoscale Science ‛24 and a former 3-Minute Thesis winner, addressed the Class of 2024.

“In my time at UNC Charlotte, one of the things I've loved most is academic freedom,” said Shibu. “The ability to explore ideas, experiment and learn from successes and failures in a supportive environment has been invaluable. This has fostered my growth into a confident and independent scholar. Big thanks to the faculty and The Graduate School for creating a system that truly encourages this kind of intellectual exploration.”

Kumtap is Graduate Commencement Bell Ringer

Unique Kumtap, Master’s in Public Health ‛24, served as a bell ringer for the Spring 2024 Graduate School commencement. The bell ringer performs the long-standing tradition of ringing the Charlotte "victory bell," gifted to Bonnie Cone in 1961.

Unique Kumtap, Master’s in Public Health ‛24, served as a bell ringer for the Spring 2024 Graduate School commencement.

In his time at Charlotte, Kumtap has spoken at four panel discussions for the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO). He has also volunteered at the Jamil Niner Student Pantry and is the current co-chair for the Student Advisory Board (SAB) in the Office of Student Assistance and Support Services (SASS).

 “As the bell ringer, I have the opportunity to symbolize the unity and diversity of the graduating class, ringing in the next chapter of our lives with a sense of inclusivity and global awareness.”

Exceptional Graduate Students Characterize the 2024 Class

Starting with elementary school, Nicole Godlock imagined herself as a neurosurgeon. Now, as she earns her Doctorate of Business Administration from UNC Charlotte with a Master of Science in data science and business analytics, also from Charlotte, Godlock is fulfilling her mission to improve tools and processes in the health care industry to better serve patients and health professionals.
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Growing up in the small West Texas border town of Tornillo, Yelixza Avila viewed military service as her only way to experience life beyond her hometown. But the first-generation college student persevered in pursuit of higher education, enrolling at nearby Sul Ross State. A summer research experience led her to Charlotte, where she completed a Ph.D. in Nanoscale Science.
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Nneka Ubi worked in real estate management for four years in her home nation of Nigeria. Encouraged to pursue graduate studies, she discovered Charlotte’s Construction and Facilities Engineering program, which offers a master’s program with a blend of civil engineering, project management and architecture.
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