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During Graduation Season, Speeches Aim At Grads

It’s college graduation season, and graduates around the region are hearing words of wisdom from a parade of speakers- from the governor to professional athletes to entertainers. 

About 2,500 students got bachelor’s degrees and hundreds more received advanced degrees at UNC Charlotte on Saturday.  Governor Pat McCrory was the commencement speaker at his alma mater, Catawba College, where 191 students graduated. 

At Wingate University, an audience of about 2,700 people heard from recently retired Carolina Panthers’ Kicker John Kasay. Kasay urged the 445 graduates to get out into the world.

"Having humility gives your life breadth, and getting off the sidelines and getting out into the field gives your life length. It is my hope and prayer for each one of you that you have a long, wide and fulfilling future," Kasay said.

In Columbia, music star Darius Rucker told this year's graduating class from the University of South Carolina they should follow their dreams and make room for service to others. He got an honorary doctor-of-music degree during Saturday's commencement exercises. School President Harris Pastides told Rucker that while he's a rock star and a cool guy, he's now "Dr. Gamecock."   Rucker, who with three fellow students formed Hootie and the Blowfish in 1986, told the graduates to "find something that makes you want to give 'til it hurts."

Duke University will hold its graduation today at Wallace Wade stadium. Philanthropist, businesswoman and Duke University graduate Melinda Gates will give the commencement address at her alma mater.  Gates – the wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates – has bachelor’s and MBA degrees from Duke and has been a trustee. She's now co-chair of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

And UNC Chapel Hill graduates about 6,000 undergraduates and graduates today. American Online Co-founder Steve Case is the featured speaker. It’s the last graduation for Chancellor Holden Thorp, who is moving to Washington University in St. Louis.