6,000 graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill; say good-bye to Holden Thor - WSPA.com

6,000 graduate from UNC-Chapel Hill; say good-bye to Holden Thorp

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

About 6,000 graduates Sunday collected bachelor's, master's, doctoral and professional degrees from the country's oldest public university, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

It was the last graduation ceremony Holden Thorp would preside over before moving to moving to Washington University in St. Louis.

America Online co-founder Steve Case was the featured speaker. 

Case asked the UNC grads to cheer their appreciation to departing chancellor Thorp before he began his commencement address.

"Join me in giving a 'Tar Heel Cheer' to the chancellor for his outstanding service to your university," he told the crowd in Keenan Stadium estimated at 35,000.

For some grads Thorp's departure was a bittersweet moment.

"There was an entire rally the day he tried to resign and it was really inspiring to see how much inspiration he created through the community," said graduate Taryn McNamee.

During the ceremonies Thorp never mentioned his departure, but others did.

"Thank you Holden for your commitment and tireless efforts," said Paul Fulton of the UNC board of governors.  "Washington U is indeed fortunate."

UNC President Tom Ross Sr. said, "Chancellor Thorp on behalf of the entire university I want to thank you for all you have done for us."

He added, "You will be sorely missed. Thank you."

Commencement speaker Steve Case co-founded AOL in 1985 when the Internet was in its infancy and made it the world's largest and most valuable Internet company.

Since 2005, he's been involved in an investment firm that has backed LivingSocial, Zipcar and more than two dozen other companies.

He told graduates to be successful, they must keep their passion, as well as continue to persevere and remember to treat people with respect and work well with others.

Citing an old African proverb, he said, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. But if you want to go far, you must do it together."

  • Material from the Associated Press was used in this report

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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