HIGH POINT, N.C., May 7, 2011 ? Lance Armstrong delivered a meaningful message to 785 graduates receiving their degrees ? the largest class in the history of High Point University ? by encouraging them to persevere, remain determined no matter what obstacles they may have to overcome and be willing to share their stories with others. The 87th Graduation Ceremony, held May 7 on the Roberts Hall Front Lawn.
To view highlights from commencement weekend, click here: http://www.highpoint.edu/commencement
Armstrong, former professional road racing cyclist, is best known for winning the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times after having survived testicular cancer. But he also serves as a tireless supporter of cancer research as founder and chairman of the LiveStrong Cancer Support Foundation. Through his efforts as an athlete and a philanthropist, Armstrong?s positive attitude has led him to success despite the tremendous obstacles he has faced. LiveStrong, which began in 1997, has become one of the top 10 groups funding cancer research in the United States, raising more than $400 million from multiple fundraising efforts.
?What?s important is that I chose to go out and share my story,? Armstrong said about his battle with cancer. ?We all are going to face that challenge. You get to decide if you embrace that. Do you share that story? Do you try to help others through the sharing of that story? You decide? That?s my challenge to you.?
The 2011 graduating class has seen numerous changes on campus since they arrived in 2007 as the university has progressed in its $2.1 billion expansion plan. Dozens of academic programs and majors have been added, including majors in biochemistry, physics, actuarial science, convergent journalism and interactive gaming, as well as new graduate school programs in strategic communication and education. More than 80 new faculty have been hired to accommodate the academic expansion. The university also implemented its Experiential Learning program, requiring students to study both in and out of the classroom with internships, study abroad experiences, practicum and innovative courses such as the President?s Life Skills Seminar, in which HPU president Dr. Nido Qubein shares with students his business expertise and strategies for success in everyday life.
Construction since the class? arrival includes the Wilson School of Commerce, Nido R. Qubein School of Communication, University Center, David R. Hayworth University Park and several residence halls and athletic facilities.
?We welcome 785 students ? undergraduate and graduate ? who have labored to arrive at this important day in their life, and we welcome thousands upon thousands of guests and family seated on this lawn who have gathered here today to support these students,? said HPU president Dr. Nido Qubein.
Faculty awards were also given during the ceremony, which included awards to Dr. Aaron Titus, assistant professor and chair of the Physics Department, who received the Meredith Clark Slane Distinguished Teaching-Service Award, and Dr. Kate Fowkes, professor of communication, who received the Ruth Ridenhour Scholarly and Professional Achievement Award.
Marsha Slane, immediate past chair of the HPU Board of Trustees, was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree.
Also making a special appearance was Challenger, a bald eagle who soared over the graduates and guests during the playing of ?America the Beautiful.? The eagle is named in honor of the Challenger space shuttle crew and is cared for by the nonprofit American Eagle Foundation, headquartered in Tennessee.
Every year, High Point University makes a special effort to bring inspiring national and international speakers to campus. Past Commencement speakers at HPU have included Chairman of the Board and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company Muhtar Kent (2010); NASA Astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin (2009); Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (2008); Dr. Bill Cosby (2007); Queen Noor of Jordan (2006); and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (2005).
At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people. HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with over 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students from 51 countries and 46 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report at No. 3 among Regional Colleges in the South. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 7 percent among ?America?s Best Colleges.? Parade Magazine lists HPU in the top 25 private schools in the nation. The university offers 50 undergraduate majors, 43 undergraduate minors and 14 graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at highpoint.edu.
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