Commencement 2020 + 2021

A letter from the President | October 19, 2020

Brian Ralph Headshot 300x300 - Commencement 2020 + 2021

Greeting Class of 2020 + 2021,

What a year it has been! We know just how difficult it has been for both the class of 2020 and 2021, not being able to celebrate your Senior year with all the traditions that come along with it!  As we have stated from the beginning, it is still our hope and plan to celebrate your achievements together at a commencement ceremony in person.

COVID-19 continues to affect our campus, and any plans for large gatherings. As we have shared with each of your classes, while the State of North Carolina recently moved to Safer at Home: Phase 3, we are not allowed to host outdoor gatherings larger than 50, so we are now planning to celebrate your accomplishments in the Spring of 2021.

Our tentative plan calls for the following in-person celebrations:

  • Class of 2020:  Friday, May 7, 2021, 5:00 pm on the Main Lawn
  • Class of 2021:  Saturday, May 8, 2021, 9:30 am on the Main Lawn
  • Details regarding Baccalaureate for both classes are under consideration

Please SAVE THE DATES for these wonderful occasions. We look forward to honoring you and both of your classes. We will continue to monitor health and safety conditions and communicate any changes to our plans as needed.

In anticipation of our celebration together,

President Ralph

  • A letter from the President | April 23, 2020
    Class of 2020,

    Congratulations! You have so much of which to be proud. You have immersed yourselves in the William Peace University experience, challenged and pushed yourselves beyond what you thought you were capable, and persevered to the end—and a less than normal end at that.

    You have made friendships that will last a lifetime and developed connections with faculty and staff, many of whom will serve as mentors for many years to come. You competed through athletics, you wowed the audience through performances, you served others on campus and off. We are proud of you and look forward to watching your adventures continue beyond the University as well as staying connected with you as proud alumni.

    We will celebrate your achievements with a wonderful Commencement Ceremony.

    There are a number of items that I want to share with you as you head into finals and the conclusion of your time here at William Peace University.

    1. We are holding off on setting a date for Baccalaureate and Commencement until we have more clarity about the spread of COVID-19 and the parameters that will be set in the future by Wake County, the State of North Carolina, and the CDC. We will offer as much advance notice as possible. As I shared during my Town Hall, we are looking at a variety of options. I know that isn’t specific, but if we are not allowed to have a large gathering of people on the front lawn, that will impact our decision.
    2. For those who have ordered caps and gowns, we will ship those directly to you. We are working with our provider to make this possible. You will be receiving an email from the University asking you to submit the appropriate address for delivery of your cap and gown. Your diplomas will also be sent once you have completed all requirements for graduation. 
    3. Some of you have been asking about purchasing a brick, which is a great way to celebrate your time in college, to commemorate friendships and memories made, to honor your favorite faculty or staff member, or to memorialize a loved one. You can do that here: 
    4. Lastly, as a special gift to each of you, we have ordered graduation stoles. They will be presented to you just prior to Commencement so that you can wear it on that day! If you are unable to attend, we will gladly mail it to you.

    I am so proud of all you have accomplished and look forward to congratulating each of you at Commencement.

    With Peace,

    President Ralph

All of your hard work and commitment will soon pay off!

Your undergraduate experience will truly culminate at Commencement. Our ceremony is typically hosted on Main Lawn, directly in front of the institution. Campus is filled with family, friends, and plenty of smiling faces.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, we have scheduled the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 ceremonies in early spring with plans for the Baccalaureate being discussed.

#WPUGrad2020 and #WPUGrad2021

Commencement for class of 2021

Saturday, May 8, 2021
9:30 a.m.
University Main Lawn

Baccalaureate 2021


Commencement for class of 2020

Friday, May 7, 2021
5:00 p.m.
University Main Lawn

Baccalaureate 2020


Info for Graduates

  • Regalia
    The Class of 2020 has already received regalia. The Class of 2021 will receive more information in the  spring.
  • Your Diploma
    The Office of the Registrar orders diplomas so that Latin Honors are properly reflected on the diploma. Diplomas are mailed to your preferred address after all of your degree requirements are met (conferral) and balances are paid.  If you have not received your diploma by August 1 please contact the Office of the Registrar at The diploma includes the graduate’s full name, degree as well as academic distinctions (cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude) as applicable.

    Diplomas are 8.8 x 11” and are printed on high-quality paper.

  • Checklist for Graduating Students
    October – November
    • Apply to graduate. You may pick up a Graduation Application in the Office of the Registrar
    • Once you have applied, a complete degree evaluation will be processed by staff in the Registrar’s Office to determine whether or not you are on track to graduate in May.
    • You should regularly visit Degree Audit and meet with your Advisor to confirm that all of your courses are meeting the appropriate degree requirements.
    • Register for the courses needed to complete your degree during spring registration for classes.  Verify that with your spring courses, you have completed all degree, major, minor, and concentration requirements.
    • Check Degree Audit and check in with your Advisor to verify progress toward graduation requirements. Contact the Office of the University Registrar with any questions about status.
    • Check the Commencement website for up-to-date information and direct your family to the website.
    • Attend Graduate Fair. This will be your opportunity to order cap, gown & tassel (available only as a package). Students can also order graduation announcements, class rings and diploma frames. Representatives from various University Offices will be available to answer questions. You will be asked to check the name to be placed on your diploma and your diploma’s shipping address for correctness. More information to come.
    • Pay fines or other financial debts on your student account. Your account must be cleared before graduation.
    • Informational emails including Commencement survey will be sent from the University. Read these carefully and respond appropriately.

  • Commencement General FAQs
  • Commencement Day FAQs
  • Baccalaureate Ceremony FAQs

Info for Parents + Weekend Guests

  • Ceremony Programs
    Programs will be available around Main Lawn before and during the ceremony. Following the ceremony a PDF of the program will be uploaded to this site.
  • Hotel Arrangements
    Contact information for preferred hotels can be found on When you contact a hotel, let the hotel associate know that you will be attending the William Peace University graduation. Many hotels have set aside a block of rooms for graduation guests.

    Explore Downtown Raleigh Hotels

  • Parking
    For detailed information on parking, please explore our digital campus map.

    Explore the Campus Map

  • Guests with Special Needs
    Special Needs parking spaces will be available in the 15 East Peace Street, Main parking lot. Please contact the Office of Disability Services for these special requests:
  • Professional Photographs
    A professional from Photo Specialties will photograph each graduate as he or she crosses the stage during commencement. Photo Specialties will send free color proofs and ordering instructions to each graduate’s email and permanent mailing address. If graduates do not receive this link or need additional information about ordering photos, they should contact Photo Specialties at or 919.967.9576.

    Contact Photo Specialties

  • Checklist for Parents of Graduating Students
    • Remind your student to apply to graduate by the deadline. The graduate should also consult his or her degree evaluation on MyPacerNet to verify progress toward graduation requirements
    • Make hotel reservations. Contact information for preferred hotels can be found on   When you contact a hotel, let the hotel associate know that you will be attending the William Peace University graduation.  Many hotels have set aside a block of rooms for graduation guests
    • Read through all Commencement information on our website.
    • Check campus weather based on rescheduled Commencement ceremony. Graduation exercises are traditionally held outside on Main Lawn and temperatures can vary.


The Katherine Bryan Sloan Graham Award for academic achievement was established in 1969 in memory of the late Katherine Bryan Sloan Graham, the first student to matriculate at the Peace Institute in 1872. The award is presented to graduating seniors whose academic record places them as the top of their class as Valedictorians. Additionally, this award is given to students who, in the faculty’s opinion, exemplify commendable traits of citizenship, cooperation, and concern for others.

Commencement Student Awards Katelyn Elyse Bouthillier - Commencement 2020 + 2021

Commencement Student Awards Dalena Han Nguyen - Commencement 2020 + 2021

Commencement Student Awards Jason Andrew Pappalardo - Commencement 2020 + 2021


William Peace University annually presents the Outstanding Graduate Award to the traditional undergraduate program graduate who, in the opinion of faculty and administrative staff, is the outstanding member of the graduating class in academic, social, and religious leadership; in acceptance of obligations; and in their general interpretation of the ideals of William Peace University.

Commencement Student Awards Deja N Gainey copy - Commencement 2020 + 2021

The Outstanding School of Professional Studies Graduate Award is presented to the Peace graduate who is the outstanding member of the graduating class in their academic, social and religious leadership; in acceptance of obligations; and in general interpretation of the ideals of William Peace University. 

Commencement Student Awards Kathryn Gebhardt - Commencement 2020 + 2021

Office of the Registrar
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