As Carolina graduates turned their tassels at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Winter Commencement on Dec. 16, former Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp encouraged them to embrace the journey ahead with gratitude and passion.
“Your education has indeed given you the opportunity to apply the energy of your life to whatever you choose, and I have come to see that as a special gift,” Crisp said in his Commencement address at the Dean E. Smith Center. “I sincerely hope that you have chosen, and will continue to choose, to chase that which lights your soul.”
Chancellor Carol L. Folt presided over the ceremony, which marked the graduation of 1,194 master’s students, 834 undergraduates, 269 doctoral students and 13 professional students.
“It’s a great privilege to be standing here looking out at this sea of Carolina blue and celebrating your hard work and accomplishment with people who have cared for, supported, challenged and loved you,” Folt said. “All of us owe it to others to help improve our world.”
In his remarks, Crisp described graduation day as the culmination of “days born of dreams, passion, commitment and good old elbow grease,” and he noted that no one gets to graduation day alone.
Reflecting on his own Carolina graduation, Crisp offered three principles for a meaningful life: savor the journey, find what fills your soul and be kind to those you meet along the way.
“Find your passion — the thing that makes you want to get up every morning and step outside to meet the day,” he said. “Light your soul’s fire with the knowledge you have and nurture it with every bit of the gift this place has given you.”
As students rose to toss their caps, Folt congratulated the graduates on their exceptional accomplishments and proud families waved to their graduates — future physical therapists, teachers, journalists, city planners, scientists, social workers and everything in between.
“Mark Twain once said, ‘The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why,’” Crisp said. “Go from here, find your why, and with it, change the world.”