Commencement ceremonies signal new opportunities

winter commencement 2023
Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Belk College students earn degrees in varied majors

On Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15-16, 493 Belk College of Business students received undergraduate and graduate degrees and graduate certificates from UNC Charlotte in ceremonies in Dale F. Halton Arena.

Interim Dean Dolly King joined other University dignitaries on the stage on Friday to congratulate students. Friday’s 10 a.m. ceremony was for the undergraduates in the Belk College of Business, College of Arts + Architecture, College of Computing and Informatics and College of Health and Human Services.

Saturday’s 10 a.m. ceremony was for all graduate students — doctoral, master’s and graduate certificates for all programs. The final number of students who graduated may vary slightly from the published number depending on outcomes of final exams.

The ceremonies were recorded, and the commencement program can be downloaded. UNC Charlotte commencement photos can be be found here.

Each graduate has a special story to tell. Here are five of those stories.

Mikenzie Green

Just over three years ago as a high school student in Cary, North Carolina, Belk College of Business finance major Mikenzie Green couldn’t imagine her future: completing a four-year degree and a starting a promising career in business.

Pranav Jain

Belk Scholar and business honors student Pranav Jain has lived in three countries, started a master's degree while an undergrad and has accepted an offer to join Barclays.

Heather Johnston

After serving in the Peace Corps, teaching and serving as an interpreter, Heather Johnston pursued an MBA to enable a new entrepreneurial business career that draws on her background and new skills.

Brian Sirois

When Brian Sirois graduated from high school in 2014, he stayed in his hometown of Glastonbury, Connecticut, to gain financial stability and mature, while working in the hospitality industry and attending Manchester Community College.

Denise Wynn

Years ago, Denise Wynn knew she wanted to earn a doctoral degree. Yet, with bills to pay and a demanding life tugging at her time and energy, she set the idea aside. Two decades later, she is adding the long-desired "Dr." to her name.

Belk College students, alumnus take ceremonial roles

Among those participating in the ceremonies was Dennis N. Bunker III ’81, who brought greetings from the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees. Bunker, a Belk College of Business alumnus, began his commercial real estate career in 1981 after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics.

Also participating were two Belk College students who served as bell ringers at two ceremonies. The bell ringer performs the longstanding tradition of ringing the Charlotte "victory bell", which was gifted to university founder Bonnie Cone in 1961 when Charlotte College moved from its old site at Central High School to the current UNC Charlotte location. Students chosen as bell ringers have demonstrated exemplary 49er spirit within organizations, volunteerism and/or service to others.

Morgan Owings, who is graduating from the Belk College of Business as a finance major with a concentration in real estate, was the bell ringer at the Friday morning ceremony, and Jayesh Jain, who is earning a master of science in mathematical finance, with a concentration in risk management, was the bell ringer at the graduate ceremony.

Morgan Owings