Commencement weekend sees 1,145 students earn Campbell University degrees

Final ceremonies on Saturday honor students in College of Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Education & Human Sciences, Business and Adult & Online Education

Two commencement ceremonies on Saturday wrapped up a Graduation Week at Campbell University that saw 1,145 students earn their undergraduate and graduate degrees. 

Commencement speaker, 1995 Campbell graduate and chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees Gene Lewis told Saturday’s honorees to view this final step in their undergraduate journey as an “opportunity” and invited the new alumni to continue to build on a relationship with their alma mater well into their professional careers. 

“[Campbell’s trust and wealth management program] is where I found my passion. My calling and my career,” said Lewis, today the senior vice president of wealth management for UBS Financial Services. “And when I graduated, I quickly realized I owed Campbell a tremendous debt for the opportunity I was given. Not a financial debt — it was a debt of gratitude. I realized that much of what I had become and much of what I’ve accomplished in my professional career was made possible because of the opportunity this University has given me.”

Commencement speaker and Campbell Board of Trustees Chairman Gene Lewis III

Lewis assured the graduates his next statement wouldn’t be “an ask” in the financial sense. Instead, he encouraged them to give back in other ways — convincing future students to consider Campbell for their education, attending University events like football games or fine arts performances and serving either as a mentor, a volunteer or a member of a board. 

“I genuinely ask you to seriously contemplate how you will positively influence the next generation of Campbell students,” he said. “Will it be through prayer? Through gifts? Your time? An endorsement? Your participation? I challenge you to help ensure that the Campbell opportunity continues for generations to come.”

In his opening welcome to graduates and their families, President J. Bradley Creed noted the Class of 2023 was a class that withstood several challenges — namely a global pandemic that disrupted much of their college experience — in getting where they are today. 

“Our University motto is ad astra per aspera — to the stars, through difficulties — and we have lived through one of the most difficult periods in recent human history,” Creed said. “But what we’ve gone through together has made us stronger. We’ve learned to adapt and persevere. Now, graduates, it’s to the stars for you.” 

Two graduates delivered the “student greetings” on Saturday. For the morning ceremony, accounting major and SGA President Cameron Heath called his decision to attend Campbell the best decision he’s ever made. He quoted longtime Detroit Tigers baseball announcer Ernie Harwell, “It’s time to say goodbye, but I think goodbyes are sad, and I’d much rather say hello. Hello to a new adventure.”

“I’ll add my own twist,” Heath said. “Goodbyes are sad, and I’d much rather say, ‘CU later.’”

In the afternoon service, biomedical humanities major and Student Athlete Advisory Committee President Elizabeth Sparacino created her own word to describe what she perceived to be the “four pillars of Campbell University” — Campbellism

“Those four pillars are leadership, faith, service and community,” Sparacino said. “They are the heart of our time at Campbell University. They are the framework. After graduation, as we embark on new journeys, meet new people and see new places, the lessons and skills you learned at Campbell will always be a part of wherever you go next.”

Graduates on Saturday represented business, engineering, education and human sciences, adult and online education and a plethora of subjects under the College of Arts & Sciences. Social work major and sociology minor Lindsey Elrod said her Campbell experience was marked by a sense of welcoming and belonging. She said her teachers and peers encouraged her to do the best she can “both inside and outside of the classroom.”

“My advice for future students is to put yourself out there,” Elrod said. “Never be afraid to take chances and make the most of all the opportunities.”

Psychology major Chloe Davis said she will miss the people and the community at Campbell most. 

“I can’t walk on campus without seeing people I know, and it breaks my heart that I may never see them again,” Davis said. “I found my calling in sociology, and none of this would have been possible without my professors and my best friends who got me through both my toughest and my best days.” 

“I will miss the sense of community between the students and the days spent studying out in the Academic Circle,” said nursing major Madelyn Rice. “Campbell has prepared me in so many ways, and I’m excited to pursue my dream of being a labor and delivery nurse.” 

Including December’s graduation ceremony, 1,561 degrees were conferred by Campbell University to students during the 2022-2023 academic year. The candidates for undergraduate degrees include 10 Associate in Arts, four Associate of Science, 30 Bachelor of Applied Science, six Bachelor of Health Science, 113 Bachelor of Business Administration, 248 Bachelor of Science, five Bachelor of Social Work, 65 Bachelor of Arts, 50 Bachelor of Science in Nursing, four Bachelor of Music and 32 Bachelor of Science in Engineering. 

Of the graduate and professional candidates, there were two Master of Accountancy, 41 Master of Business Administration, 10 Master of Education, three Master of School Administration, 10 Master of Arts, five Master of Arts in Christian Ministry, one Master of Arts in Faith and Leadership Formation, 16 Master of Divinity, four Doctor of Ministry, 47 Master of Science, 17 Master of Science Biomedical Science, 55 Master of Physician Assistant Practice, 73 Doctor of Pharmacy, 141 Juris Doctor and 153 Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees.

During the 2022-2023 academic year Campbell enrolled approximately 5,272 students in the campus locations online; at Buies Creek and Raleigh, North Carolina; and at North Carolina military bases.

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