Local News

Madeleine Albright Addresses UNC Grads

Posted May 13, 2007 5:23 p.m. EDT
Updated May 13, 2007 7:17 p.m. EDT

Madeleine Albright, the nation's first female Secretary of State, spoke at the University of North Carolina’s graduation ceremonies in Kenan Stadium Saturday and encouraged the university's 5,400 graduates to be the leaders of tomorrow.

Albright told students that while a college degree is important, so is an inner compass.

“Whether that compass is true will determine whether you are blown about by every breeze, or able to chart a course that reflects your own ambitions and values,” she said.

“Having Madeleine Albright (speak at graduation,) that was like, ‘Oh my Gosh,’ you know?” said UNC graduate Stephanie Morgan. “It's the joy of being at Carolina.”

But it was tough to compete with the joy of turning the tassel. In addition to the 5,000 degrees awarded Sunday, the university also gave out honorary degrees. Legendary UNC men’s basketball coach Dean Smith accepted an honorary law degree, as did Albright.

Now that the graduates have their degrees, many said their real work is just beginning.

“I actually start work on Tuesday,” said UNC graduate Kacie Lord. “I'll be working at a college as a financial aid planner.”

“I actually have a job at New Hope Elementary School in Hillsborough,” said UNC graduate Blair
Waggett. “I'm going to be a fifth-grade teacher.”

Also among the Tar Heels' Class of 2007 was Michael Easley, the son of Gov. Mike Easley. He majored in political science and graduated with honors.

More than 4,000 degrees were also handed out at Duke University on Sunday, as the school held its 155th commencement at Wallace Wade Stadium. General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner addressed the graduates.