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College of Education Celebrates 149 Graduating Students during December 2023 Graduation Ceremony

The NC State College of Education recognized 149 graduates during a graduation ceremony on Dec. 15, 2023, in Reynolds Coliseum. Below is a recap of the ceremony.

Number of All Graduates
The College of Education graduated 149 students on Dec. 15, 2023, including 52 doctoral students, 80 master’s students and 17 bachelor’s students.

Charge to Students

angela gay-audre, who earned her Ph.D. in the Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development higher education opportunity, equity and justice concentration, delivered the charge to students, reminding them to remember the people and events in life that made their success possible, to realign and be intentional for the students they will serve and to never doubt the influence they can have in the lives of others. 

“In the College of Education, we have not merely studied to earn degrees; we have been prepared to become champions of knowledge and wielders of the transformative power of education. As we step forward as educators, I hope we never forget the profound impact we have on shaping the future,” she said. 

What College of Education Dean Paola Sztajn Said

“Today is a celebration of what you have achieved and of your decision to choose education.

Today is also a new start in your career as an educator. And we know that being an educator is hard. You have chosen to work in a field that is not always supported as it should be.

But we in the College of Education are sure you have the tools you need to succeed, and we are here to support and cheer you along the way. I want to encourage you, whatever route you take in education, to leverage your skills, talents, and experiences — together with the preparation you have received in our college — to advance the greater good. Our world needs you.” 

Recognizing our Retiring Faculty and Administrators

During the ceremony, Dean Paola Sztajn recognized three faculty members who will be retiring at the end of the semester: Associate Professor Candy Beal, Professor and Former Dean Jayne Fleener and Clinical Educator Melanie Smith. 

She also recognized Associate Dean for Student Success and Strategic Engagement Anona Smith Williams, who will retire next semester after more than three decades with the college.

Smith Williams has been involved in more than 60 College of Education graduation ceremonies and began the tradition of the college’s December graduation ceremony. 

“As a two-time graduate of our College of Education, Dr. Smith Williams has set the example of what it means to be a College of Education-prepared educator and leader. For that reason, Dr. Smith Williams is our college’s 2023 Distinguished Alumna of the Year. She has touched the life of many of the students who have come through our college or enrolled, and through all she does, she has treated students like family,” Sztajn said. 

View Photos from the College of Education’s Graduation Ceremony