Commencement 2016

Graduation Ceremony

Saturday, May 7, 2016 – 9:00 a.m. – Noon

HPU, Roberts Hall Lawn

Speaker:  Dr. Condoleezza Rice

High Point University continues its tradition of bringing renowned thought leaders to campus by hosting Dr. Condoleezza Rice, 66th secretary of state, as its 2016 Commencement Speaker.

690Condoleezza Rice is currently the Denning professor in Global Business and the Economy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business; the Thomas and Barbara Stephenson senior fellow on public policy at the Hoover Institution; and a professor of Political Science at Stanford University. She is also a founding partner of RiceHadleyGates, LLC.

From January 2005-2009, Rice served as the 66th Secretary of State of the United States, the second woman and first African American woman to hold the post. Rice also served as President George W. Bush’s assistant to the President for national security affairs (National Security Advisor) from January 2001-2005, the first woman to hold the position.

Rice served as Stanford University’s provost from 1993-1999, during which she was the institution’s chief budget and academic officer. As provost, she was responsible for a $1.5 billion annual budget and the academic program involving 1,400 faculty members and 14,000 students. In 1997, she also served on the Federal Advisory Committee on Gender-Integrated Training in the Military.

From 1989 through March 1991, Rice served on President George H.W. Bush’s National Security Council staff. She served as director; senior director of Soviet and East European Affairs; and, special assistant to the President for national security affairs. In 1986, while an international affairs fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations, Rice also served as special assistant to the director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

As professor of Political Science, Rice has been on the Stanford faculty since 1981 and has won two of the highest teaching honors—the 1984 “Walter J. Gores Award for Excellence in Teaching” and the 1993 “School of Humanities and Sciences Dean’s Award for Distinguished Teaching”.

She has authored and co-authored numerous books, including two best sellers, No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington (2011) and Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family (2010); Germany Unified and Europe Transformed: A Study in Statecraft (1995) with Philip Zelikow; The Gorbachev Era (1986) with Alexander Dallin; and Uncertain Allegiance: The Soviet Union and the Czechoslovak Army (1984).

Rice currently serves on the board of Dropbox, an online-storage technology company, C3, an energy software company, and Makena Capital, a private endowment firm. In addition, she is a member of the boards of the George W. Bush Institute, the Commonwealth Club, the Aspen Institute, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Previously, Rice served on various additional boards, including: KiOR, Inc.; the Chevron Corporation; the Charles Schwab Corporation; the Transamerica Corporation; the Hewlett-Packard Company; the University of Notre Dame; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and, the San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors.

In 2013, Rice was appointed to the College Football Playoff Committee (CFPC), formerly the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). In 2015, The National Football Foundation (NFF) & College Hall of Fame named Rice the 2015 recipient of the organization’s highest and most prestigious honor, the “NFF Gold Medal”, citing her “significant contributions to our country and her love of the game of college football.” The award Rice is the first woman to ever be nationally recognized by the NFF.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Rice earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science, cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Denver; her master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame; and her Doctor of Philosophy degree from the Graduate School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

Rice is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has been awarded 11 honorary doctorates. She currently resides in Stanford, California.

General Information

The Graduation Ceremony is for High Point University candidates for graduation, their families and guests, and university faculty, staff, students and special guests. It is not open to the general public.

In the event of inclement weather, the Graduation Ceremony will be held in the Millis Athletic/Convocation Center and will be delayed until 9:30 a.m. Due to space limitations in the Millis Center, each candidate for graduation is permitted a maximum of two rain guest tickets.  The graduate will be required to show their Passport Card for entry.  Rain tickets must be picked up in advance, during normal office hours from April 28 to May 5 at the R.G. Wanek Center philanthropy tables.

Please cooperate as HPU employs heightened security measures due to the prominence of the speaker at the graduation ceremony. Guests may be inconvenienced with additional security checks. Thank you for being considerate and respectful of the ceremony.

Since large crowds are expected for this event, plan to arrive early to find a seat. Guests will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Parking will be available on campus for guests with special needs on a first-come, first-served basis.  Drivers must display state issued placards or license plates to enter the parking lot.  Please enter campus at Boundary Avenue from University Parkway (formerly N. College Drive). Guests will be transported on wheelchair accessible shuttles and dropped off at the Slane Student Center fountain.

Special needs seating will be available at the front, left of the lawn (as you view the stage) on a first-come, first-served basis.  This seating is for guests in wheelchairs and for those who have difficulty walking. We ask that only one other guest sit with the special needs guest as seating in this section is limited.

Please observe the rope barricades and closed areas. Guests are asked to honor requests made by Junior Marshals.

Due to the formality of the ceremony, noisemakers and pets will not be permitted.

Temperatures vary widely in May, so be prepared for various weather scenarios.

Appropriate dress for this event is business attire.

Regardless of the weather, the Graduation Ceremony will be broadcast via closed-circuit television at the Hayworth Fine Arts Center. In the event of rain, the Graduation Ceremony will also be broadcast via closed-circuit television at the Hayworth Fine Arts Center, the Wanek Center Extraordinaire Cinema, and Phillips Hall Francis Auditorium.

Roberts Hall and Wrenn Hall will be closed to the public during the Graduation Ceremony.

Restrooms will be available at Hayworth Fine Arts Center, Slane Student Center, and portable restrooms beside Wrenn Hall.

Guests are encouraged to take advantage of the shuttle service to the Graduation Ceremony. Shuttles will begin running at 6:30 a.m. from Oak Hollow Mall on Eastchester Drive in High Point. The shuttles will make a continuous loop from the pick-up location to the High Point University campus.

Bottled water will be available.

A photographer from GradImages will be on site to take photographs of each candidate for graduation at their special moment of recognition. Prior to the ceremony pre-register your permanent email address by visiting and clicking on Pre-Event Registration. After the ceremony you may order prints online at by calling toll-free at 800-261-2576.

Photographing candidates for graduation during the Graduation Ceremony is permissible. The platform area is restricted and may not be used for photographs. Please be respectful of boundaries; they have been put in place to prevent injury.

First Aid services will be available during the Graduation Ceremony. Anyone in need of assistance should contact uniformed officers or security personnel.

Candidates for Graduation Information

Commencement:  Graduates should arrive by 8:15am, in cap and gown, to the Kester International Promenade on May 7.

  • Undergraduate candidates for graduation must submit a graduation application to the University Registrar’s Office by March 14, 2016. Applications are available in the University Registrar’s Office and online at
  • Graduate School candidates for spring completion should apply for graduation in the Graduate School by February 12, 2016.

Candidates for graduation must notify the University Registrar’s Office if they do not plan to attend the Graduation Ceremony. Any candidate for graduation who is unable to attend the Graduation Ceremony must provide the University Registrar a current address so that their diploma may be mailed.

Diplomas will reflect first name, middle name/initial, last name, and any applicable suffix as submitted by application to the University. Diploma pickup will be in the Slane Center following the Commencement Ceremony until 1:30pm.

Commencement caps, gowns, and hoods must be ordered by March 18, 2016. Please follow this link to order your cap, gown, and hood. The High Point Campus bookstore will be open Saturday, May 7, 2016, at 7:30 a.m. and close at 3:00 p.m. Academic Regalia pick-up will begin by April 11th at the bookstore.  Questions about academic regalia can be directed to Michaele Craven, (336) 841-9221 or


Additional Resources

Official HPU Press Release

Photography and video for the Graduation Ceremony

Highlights from 2015 and 2014

Previous Graduation Speakers at HPU

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