May 6, 2023 - Education

A guide to college graduation ceremonies in the Charlotte area

UNC Charlotte commencement

UNC Charlotte commencement. Photo courtesy of UNC Charlotte

Thousands of students across North Carolina are preparing for college commencement.

By the numbers: More than 8,000 students will graduate across Mecklenburg County’s six institutions this semester.

State of play: Johnson & Wales kicked things off with their commencement ceremony on May 4 celebrating 320 graduates.

  • Queens University of Charlotte is up next.

Here are the details for the remaining Mecklenburg County colleges and universities by date.

Queens University of Charlotte

Details: The university’s 164th commencement starts at 9am today, May 6 at the Hall Brown Terrace behind Queens Hall. Queens will celebrate 480 graduates participating in commencement. Find a campus map here.

  • Kieth Cockrell, the Charlotte market president for Bank of America will deliver the keynote address.
  • The ceremony will be live-streamed on YouTube.
  • Seating opens at 7:30am. Expect a two-hour ceremony.
Queens University of Charlotte commencement
Photo courtesy Queens University of Charlotte

Central Piedmont Community College

Details: Commencement will take place at Bojangles’ Coliseum (2700 E. Independence Blvd.) on Thursday, May 11. There will be two ceremonies, one at 10am and one at 2pm.

  • Keynote speakers will be two 2023 graduates, Maria “Fernanda” Moreno Tovar, a 2023 graduate at 10am and RaeDeja Sawyer at the 2pm. It’s a Central Piedmont tradition to have graduating students deliver the commencement address.
  • You can livestream the 10am ceremony on YouTube here and the 2pm ceremony on YouTube here.
  • Approximately 1,800 students are eligible to graduate with 900 expected to participate in commencement, per Central Piedmont.
Central Piedmont President Kandi Deitemeyer (left) congratulates a May 2022 graduate. Photo: Darnell Vennie/ courtesy of Central Piedmont Community College
Central Piedmont President Kandi Deitemeyer (left) congratulates a May 2022 graduate. Photo: Darnell Vennie/ courtesy of Central Piedmont Community College

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Details: Around 5,000 students will graduate from Charlotte this semester. There will be four commencement ceremonies at the Dale F. Halton Arena (9201 University City Blvd. 202 Barnhardt Student Activity Center). Find a campus map here.

  • The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences undergraduate ceremony is set for Friday, May 12 at 10am.
  • A graduate school ceremony will also take place on May 12. It’s set for 3pm.
  • Cato College of Education, The William States Lee College of Engineering and the College of Health & Human Services will celebrate graduates on Saturday, May 13 at 10am.
  • The final ceremony will take place on May 13 at 3pm recognizing undergraduates in the College of Arts + Architecture, Belk College of Business and the College of Computing & Informatics.

Of note: The arena’s clear bag policy will be in effect. Umbrellas and balloons will not be allowed inside.

UNC Charlotte commencement. Photo courtesy of UNC Charlotte
UNC Charlotte commencement. Photo courtesy of UNC Charlotte

Davidson College 

Details: Around 500 students will graduate this semester. The college’s 186th commencement is Sunday, May 14 at 10am. Seating opens at 8:30am. The ceremony is expected to conclude around 12:30pm.

  • You can livestream the ceremony here.
  • Davidson’s commencement does not include a keynote speaker.
Davidson College Commencement. Photo: Chris Record / courtesy of Davidson College
Davidson College Commencement. Photo: Chris Record/courtesy of Davidson College

Johnson C. Smith University

Details: Commencement will be held in Bojangles’ Coliseum (2700 E. Independence Blvd) on Sunday, May 21 at 11am.

  • Grammy Award-winner Anthony Hamilton is the keynote speaker.
  • More than 200 students will graduate this semester.
  • Doors open at 9:30am, and a livestream link will become available closer to the ceremony.
JCSU commencement
Photo courtesy of Johnson C. Smith University

What advice do you have for the class of 2023? Let me know at [email protected].

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