More than 250 undergraduate and graduate students will be celebrating a major milestone during Methodist University’s new “Commencement Weekend” on May 5 and 6.

More than 250 undergraduate and graduate students will be celebrating a major milestone during Methodist University’s new “Commencement Weekend” on May 5 and 6.

On Friday, May 5, at 2 p.m. in Huff Concert Hall on campus, Methodist University will hold a graduate ceremony – honoring more than 60 students for completing one of the University’s 10 graduate programs offered both on campus and online. Then, on Saturday, May 6, at 10 a.m. at Crown Coliseum, the University will pay tribute to approximately 200 graduates from its many undergraduate programs. The University’s Baccalaureate, which honors all graduates in an intimate setting, will take place on Friday, May 5, at 4:30 p.m. in Matthews Chapel on the MU campus.

GraduatesIn years past, Methodist University has organized a single commencement ceremony for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Provost Suzanne Blum Malley said “Commencement Weekend” is an exciting new chapter for MU.

“The faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of Methodist University are looking forward to celebrating the accomplishments of our graduates throughout Commencement Weekend,” said Blum Malley. “We know our graduates will carry a commitment to Methodist University’s mission and values as they embark on their next journeys as lifelong Monarchs. I look forward to honoring each of them as they cross the stages this Friday and Saturday.”

Both ceremonies will be live streamed. To access the live videos, view the MU event page for the Graduate Commencement and/or the Crown Coliseum live streaming page for the Undergraduate Commencement. More information on parking, tickets, venue policies, and more, visit the Undergraduate or Graduate Commencement event pages.

Graduate Ceremony

Friday, May 5, 2 p.m., Huff Concert Hall

The hard work of Methodist University’s graduate students will be recognized during a traditional graduate ceremony in front of family, friends, and loved ones. Similar to other commencement celebrations of the past, numerous speakers will address the students, including Michael Nagowski, chief executive officer of Cape Fear Valley Health, who will deliver the keynote address.

Graduate celebrates with familyNagowski played a pivotal role in the partnership between Methodist University and Cape Fear Valley Health and the intent to establish a state-of-the-art Methodist University medical school.

“I am honored to share this special moment with Methodist University graduate program candidates,” Nagowski said. “Even with the challenges that came with the pandemic, these graduate students have worked hard to achieve this milestone. I hope to inspire and encourage them as they embark on the next journey in their careers and remind them of their opportunity to make a difference. Congratulations to the graduates, and may they find success and fulfillment in all their future endeavors.”

As they cross the stage, graduates will participate in a hooding and diploma ceremony. During the hooding ceremony, each graduate will be hooded by an individually selected sponsor (often a parent, spouse, child, professor, or friend) as a visual representation of the students’ level of academic achievement and scholastic degree being conferred. President Stanley T. Wearden will hand graduates their diploma on stage.

Undergraduate Ceremony

Saturday, May 6, 10 a.m., Crown Coliseum

In similar fashion, the undergraduate commencement will also include the hooding and diploma ceremony – a special moment at MU that allows graduates to share their accomplishment with a loved one.

Among the undergraduate Class of 2023 is Valeria Matute, who was selected as this year’s Distinguished Graduate. Matute is among the five students in her undergraduate class with the highest GPA and was chosen to speak at the graduation by her peers. Hailing from Valencia, Venezuela, Matute is receiving a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a minor in Professional Tennis Management.

Also among the graduates is Nursing major Karma Choki, a Bhutan native who is the first from her country to graduate from Methodist University. As part of a long-standing tradition, the Bhutan flag will now be permanently displayed in the Berns Student Center along with the 128 other flags from countries across the world.

The undergraduate ceremony’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Mary Lynn Bryan, who served as the chair for the Methodist University Board of Trustees from 2012 to 2017 and a board member dating back to 1997. Bryan was named the MU Alumni Association’s Philanthropist of the Year in 2018 and established the “Dr. Mary Lynn Bryan Endowed Scholarship” in 2019. Bryan has lived in Fayetteville since 1983 and has made numerous other impacts in the community, including with the Cumberland Community Foundation, the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, and the Cumberland Country Boy Scouts.


Friday, May 5, 4:30 p.m. Matthews Chapel

Methodist University’s Baccalaureate will recognize the accomplishments of this year’s graduates with a more personal service inside Matthews Chapel. The service will feature music by the MU Chorale and senior Ashleigh Adamson, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance.

Rev. Dr. Clay L. Barrow will deliver an inspirational sending forth titled “A Charge to Keep I Have.” Barrow graduated with a bachelor’s in Psychology and Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He is trained to empower students with the necessary tools to navigate mental health in today’s climate.

“No student arrives at graduation alone,” said Rev. Kelli Taylor, vice president of Mission Integration & Student Well-Being and chaplain of MU. “A host of persons across the span of one’s educational experience contribute to a graduate’s personal, academic, and professional accomplishments. Baccalaureate is a time for students, their mentors, families, and the community to reflect, share memories, express gratitude, and celebrate the shared journey in preparation for Commencement.”