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210 Pittsboro Street, Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC  27599-6210
(919) 962-2091   FAX: (919) 962-2279


Not for publication

Dec. 14, 1999 -- No. 749

Former UNC-CH basketball stars to march at December commencement

Saturday, Dec. 18, 2 p.m.
Dean E. Smith Center

Jerry Stackhouse and Antawn Jamison are donning Carolina blue on the basketball court again. The former Tar Heel stars are trading in their NBA uniforms for caps and gowns for the mid-winter commencement ceremony at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The 2 p.m. ceremony Saturday (Dec. 18) at the Dean E. Smith Center recognizes students who completed degrees in August or December. Students will wear Carolina blue caps and gowns, and doctoral and professional students will march across a stage to receive diplomas.

Stackhouse and Jamison earned their degrees in African-American studies in August after completing coursework during summer school. Stackhouse, who was drafted by the NBA after his sophomore year in 1995, now starts for the Detroit Pistons. Jamison, who was drafted after his junior year in 1998, starts for the Golden State Warriors. Both players say they had promised themselves and their parents that they would get their degrees. In recognition of Stackhouse’s milestone, the Detroit Pistons are hosting a graduation party that night when the team plays the Philadelphia 76’ers, with whom he began his career. Stackhouse and Jamison’s participation in the ceremony has already attracted national media attention, including in such publications as Sports Illustrated.

(For more information on Stackhouse and the Pistons go to more information on Jamison and the Warriors go to For other human interest stories about this mid-winter commencement, please contact Karen Moon at News Services (962-8595).

Speaker: This year’s mid-winter commencement speaker is Bland Simpson, a popular UNC-CH professor, professional musician and writer. He is an assistant English professor whose exploration of North Carolina has been the topic of novels, musical plays and film scripts. He is also a member of the Tony-award winning string band The Red Clay Ramblers. Simpson continues Carolina’s tradition of having faculty members speak at December commencement, a practice that began in 1994. (For background information on Simpson go to

Graduates: To date, 2,313 students pursuing bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees have applied to march on Saturday (Dec. 18). Administrators anticipate awarding about 931 bachelor’s, 935 master’s, 400 doctoral and 47 professional degrees.

Media kits/seating: Commencement information and an advance copy of Simpson’s speech will be available from Karen Moon of the News Services staff on the arena floor at the bottom of section 110. Reserved seating for the media will be available in section 100.

Media Availability: To date, it is still unclear if Stackhouse or Jamison will be available for media interviews. Contact Karen Moon at News Services closer to commencement time for that information.

Broadcasters: Audio feeds will be available. Call Karen Moon of News Services (962-8595) by Friday if you have special broadcast needs.

Parking: Reserved parking for the media will be available in the parking lot in back of the Dean E. Smith Center.

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News Services contact: Karen Moon, 962-8595 (w), 933-9277 (h), 216-9256 (pager), 218-2467 (cell)

Sports Information contact: Matt Bowers, 962-2123