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Academics

Triumph, resilience, hope – the 2022 doctoral hooding ceremony

Keynote speaker Meredith Evans told the graduates that differences will strengthen us if the focus is on shared humanity and less on the things that divide us.

Doctoral hooding ceremony at UNC-Chapel Hill
The Doctoral Hooding ceremony was held May 7, 2022, at the Dean Smith Center. Meredith Evans '06 (Ph.D), delivered the keynote address. (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

UNC-Chapel Hill honored more than 500 doctoral graduates during a ceremony held in the Dean E. Smith Center featuring keynote speakerMeredith Evans ’06 (Ph.D.), who encouraged graduates to be open to continued learning. 

Evans is an archivist, historian, scholar, and the director of the Jimmy Carter Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia. Her studies at theUNC School of Information and Library Scienceprepared her for a career of service. 

“We need different perspectives to strengthen community and democracy,” she said. “Our differences will strengthen us if we focus on our shared humanity and less on the things that divide us.” 

Evans emphasized the shared responsibility that comes with obtaining a doctoral degree. 

“You can help others dig deeper,” she said. “You can share encounters, research techniques and the desire to discover.” 

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz welcomed graduates into the academy – graduates who share a search for knowledge in an uncertain world.

“Everything we do is in service to the people of North Carolina and beyond,” Guskiewicz said. “You have a vital role within that mission – one that comes with special privileges and profound obligations.”

Suzanne Barbour, dean of The Graduate School, said this year’s doctoral graduates enriched our University by advancing its mission of research, teaching, and public service. 

“You have successfully completed your doctoral studies – a process that takes years of commitment, discipline and sacrifice and you have done that under extraordinary circumstances,” Barbour said. “I ask that you take that commitment to excellence and go out into your community … and make it a better place.” 

The Graduate School, founded in 1903, oversees the administration of more than 160 degrees that span more than 80 programs. Saturday’s ceremony honored doctoral graduates who completed their studies during the spring 2022 and between August and December 2021. 

Li Qian received The Graduate School’s 2022 Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring, awarded annually. The award recognizes graduate faculty who provide outstanding support and guidance to their doctoral students. 

Qian has served on nearly two-dozen thesis committees and is currently serving 12 graduate students in mentorship and thesis work as part of her service with the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. 

“She thinks deeply, and she cares deeply,” a letter of nomination read, adding that Qian prioritized well-being of her students, discussed successful and failed experiments, and looked ahead at milestones and long-term career goals. Qian is also the associate director of theMcAllister Heart Institute.