Fall 2020 Commencement

Updated Oct. 9, 2020: 

While we cannot have an in-person ceremony due to current state-mandated health protocols, we invite students to receive their diploma, in-person from Chancellor Cable, complete with their name announced and a walk to receive their diploma, all of which will be video recorded.

We will film this during a two-day video recording scheduled for October 29 and 30. Students will have the chance to get your cap and gown, stoles and many (though not all) of your graduation cords before this recording. Details about how to schedule your graduation walk and other important information will be shared with students via email in the coming days.

Every Fall graduate participating in the video recording must wear a face covering and adhere to social distancing guidelines. Furthermore, health restrictions dictate that only members of the graduating class will be allowed to attend the video recording.

Graduates who are not able or prefer not to receive their diploma in person, may submit a photo for inclusion in the celebration video by sending a high resolution photo to If students do not receive their diploma in person and we do not receive a photo, only their name, major and honors will appear in the video. The deadline to submit photos is Tuesday, November 3.

All graduates will have the opportunity to send a video to share memories of their time at UNC Asheville that will be featured in the Commencement celebration video. Additional information about video requirements will be emailed this week.

The UNC Asheville Fall Graduates of the Class of 2021 Commencement celebration video will be emailed to students at 9 a.m. on Saturday, November 21. At the same time, the celebration video will also be posted to the UNC Asheville Commencement webpage and on the UNC Asheville YouTube channel for viewing at any time.

If you have any questions about the Commencement celebration video, please email

Congratulations UNC Asheville graduates! We are so proud of you and look forward to celebrating your academic and leadership accomplishments!

Spring 2020 Virtual Commencement Ceremony

Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 9 a.m.

Congratulations, UNC Asheville Class of 2020! We had so hoped to be able to gather on the Quad to share this moment with you, but you are making history as UNC Asheville’s first ever graduating class to take part in a virtual Commencement Ceremony. We are so proud of your steadfast work, determination, and important accomplishments. We look forward to seeing where the future takes each of you.

Please find more information about the graduates, honorary degree recipients, and ceremony speakers in the Commencement program.

A Message from Chancellor Cable

May 2020 – Chancellor Cable gives a special message to the Class of 2020.

And check out our digital yearbook for the Class of 2020.

Commencement Speaker

Dr. Patrice A. Harris
Dr. Patrice A. Harris

Dr. Patrice A. Harris, immediate past-president of the American Medical Association (AMA) and leading international medical expert, will be the featured speaker at UNC Asheville’s August 1 Commencement. Dr. Harris served as AMA president from June 2019-2020 and has led the national conversation for a science-based approach to COVID-19, and she has also led the AMA’s efforts to end the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Beyond the AMA, she has held positions of leadership with the American Psychiatric Association, the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, the Medical Association of Georgia, and The Big Cities Health Coalition, where she chaired this forum composed of leaders from America’s largest metropolitan health departments.

Dr. Harris also specializes in children’s mental health and childhood trauma, and has led efforts on both local and national levels to integrate public health, behavioral health and primary care services with supports for employment, housing and education. In addition to consulting with public and private organizations about health service delivery and emerging trends, Dr. Harris continues her private practice, is an adjunct assistant professor in the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and serves as an adjunct clinical assistant professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Morehouse School of Medicine.

Dr. Harris will also receive an honorary degree from UNC Asheville and will be awarded the Chancellor’s Medallion, the University’s highest distinction, given to recognize individuals who demonstrate the highest commitment to community service, national leadership and enhancement of the University.

Honorary Degree Recipients

As is customary during the University’s spring ceremony, this special August Commencement for the Class of 2020 will include the bestowing of three additional honorary degrees to leaders who have given remarkable service to UNC Asheville, the state of North Carolina and to our nation.

  • Dr. Luther E. Barnhardt is a retired radiologist and physician, founder of Western Carolina Radiology, who has supported UNC Asheville through philanthropy and volunteer board leadership including serving on the Board of Trustees. Dr. Barnhardt is a past recipient of UNC Asheville’s Chancellor’s Medallion.
  • Mr. Lou Bissette is an attorney, president at McGuire, Wood & Bissette, P.A., who has served Asheville as its mayor, and has served the UNC as chair of the Board of Governors and as a trustee at Western Carolina University and Wake Forest University.
  • Dr. William H. Turner is a distinguished American sociologist, public intellectual, and a pioneer in research, documentation, and writing about the history of Africans Americans in Appalachia. He is the co-editor of the book, Blacks in Appalachia, and is a leader who has served UNC Asheville with public lectures on campus and in Asheville during the annual African Americans in Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia scholarly conference and community gatherings in the last several years.

UNC Asheville Alumni Association

Since the Association’s founding in 1947, lifetime membership has been a gift of the university to its graduates. The association helps alumni stay connected to their alma mater, classmates, friends, faculty and staff, as well as to connect with alumni throughout the United States and in more than 50 countries. To learn more about the Association, its activities and benefits go to

Social Networking: Stay connected to your alma mater through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Class Notes and Information Update: Help us stay connected by keeping us informed of changes to your contact information and share with us news about your life after UNC Asheville.

Update Your Information Now

Career Services & Transcripts

Career Services: UNC Asheville graduates receive all the services of the UNC Asheville Career Center at no charge throughout their lives. To learn about upcoming events, online job postings and more go to

Transcripts: Transcripts are provided to UNC Asheville graduates at no charge from the University in person or online with a small processing charge from the National Student Clearinghouse. Find more information on ordering transcripts here.

Preserving the Memory

December 2019 Commencement Ceremony

If you have questions about Commencement, email