May 112013
 

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Graduation seniors celebrate as their department is recognized during East Carolina UniversityХs 104th commencement at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Friday morning. (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)

 

Graduation seniors celebrate as their department is recognized during East Carolina UniversityХs 104th commencement at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Friday morning. (Rhett Butler/The Daily Reflector)

 

By Katherine Ayers

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Use your social media accounts for good.

That is the message Valeria Lovelace gave graduates during East Carolina University’s 104th commencement on Friday.

“Show respect for women, men and diversity of culture through language messages,” Lovelace said. “Use your network to show (high school students) how people like you can graduate.”

Lovelace addressed almost 4,000 students who received their degrees during the morning ceremony. It was the first time all graduates sat on the field rather than in the stands.

Lovelace, the founder of educational research and the production company Media Transformations, impressed upon the graduates that the messages young children see on their televisions count.

“Those messages are recorded on your hard drive for a lifetime,” Lovelace said. “TV messages can be retrieved later to either help or hurt you.”

Like Dora the Explorer, one of the characters Lovelace created, she asked the graduates for their help in being part of a positive change.

The ceremony processional was led by members of the class of 1963 who returned to celebrate their 50th reunion.

Wayne Woolard, one of the ’63 grads who now lives in Washington, N.C., earned his degree in business administration and used it to work in various positions in the military’s Base Exchanges which led him to a life of worldwide travel.

Woolard, who originally wanted to go to Duke University but could not afford the tuition, took his football skills to ECU after UNC-Chapel Hill would not let him play on the varsity squad as a freshman. He played as a wide receiver until he got a concussion and a shoulder injury within 90 days.

“I got better schooling than I would have at Chapel Hill because (at the time), ECU was ranked better,” Woolard said.

After his injuries, ECU dropped his scholarship and he almost dropped out until he was offered a position working part-time as the uniform custodian with the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) unit and then as the resident manager of Jones Hall.

“I didn’t know many of my classmates,” Woolard said. “I was on the working side of the university.”

Through it all, Woolard said he became, and still remains, a “die-hard ECU fan.”

Sarah Morgan Hunter earned her Bachelor of Arts in business administration with a concentration in management this year. She was one of five recipients of the ECU Alumni Association Robert H. Wright Alumni Leadership Award, the highest honor an undergraduate can earn. Hunter said she will pursue a master’s of business administration at ECU beginning this summer.

“I knew I wanted to attend a state school and when I came to ECU I knew it was where I wanted to be,” Hunter, a Henderson native, said. “I knew I was home.”

Will Garren, who earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering technology, said he is apprehensive about the future because his internship ends in July and he does not have a job lined up.

“I’m a little excited and a little sad,” Garren said. “Now it’s on to the real world. It’s sink or swim time.”

With temperatures in the low 80s on Friday, ECU Police Lt. Chris Sutton said EMS answered six heat-related calls during and after the ceremony. No one had to be transported to the hospital.

Contact Katherine Ayers at kayers@reflector.com and 252-329-9567. Follow her on Twitter @KatieAyersGDR.

via The Daily Reflector.

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