New graduates celebrate this weekend

Vance-Granville Community College kicked off the celebrations Friday night. Campbell, Duke, North Carolina Central, North Carolina State University and Methodist universities are also graduating thousands of students this weekend.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — College seniors and their families will celebrate new beginnings as area colleges hold a second weekend of graduations.

Vance-Granville Community College kicked off the celebrations when 460 students received their degrees Friday night. North Carolina Central University Chancellor Charlie Nelms was the commencement speaker.

Campbell, N.C. Central, North Carolina State University and Methodist universities held their commencement ceremonies Saturday. Duke University was to hold its graduation Sunday.

N.C. Central started early Saturday with an 8 a.m. ceremony in O'Kelly-Riddick Stadium in Durham. The university awarded more than 900 degrees, and syndicated radio host and philanthropist Tom Joyner was the keynote speaker.

EMS workers had to treat some people who suffered from heat exhaustion at the ceremony, campus security said.

N.C. State students paraded into the RBC Center in Raleigh at 9 a.m. The university awarded 4,566 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees. Graduates heard from journalist and PBS talk show host Charlie Rose.

Campbell University students turned their tassels after a speech from Frank B. Holding, CEO and chairman of the board of First Citizens BancShares, Inc. The ceremony took place at 10 am. in the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center in Buies Creek.

Seniors at Methodist University in Fayetteville celebrated at a 2 p.m. graduation ceremony in the March F. Riddle Center.

Duke's graduation will feature a Nobel Peace Prize winner and more than 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree recipients. Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi banker who won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for popularizing microcredit loans to the poor, will speak at the ceremony in Wallace Wade Stadium at 10 a.m. Sunday.

The celebrations will continue next week, with Wake and Durham technical community colleges drawing high-profile speakers. Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams will speak at Durham community college's graduation Wednesday, and Sen. Richard Burr will speak at Wake community college's graduation on May 23.


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