Commencement 2020

A letter from the President | June 29, 2020

Brian Ralph Headshot 300x300 - Commencement 2020

Class of 2020,

Greetings William Peace University Class of 2020!  It’s hard to believe it has been nearly three months since we’ve seen you on campus. We certainly missed being able to celebrate the end of your Senior year and all the traditions that come along with it!  We are eager and looking forward to the day we can celebrate your achievements together at a commencement ceremony–as soon as possible.

As it was true in my previous message, the current guidelines established by Wake County, the State of North Carolina, and the CDC still do not permit us to have outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people.  We are continuing to monitor announcements and  updates to these guidelines and will have another update regarding Commencement as soon as we can. Again, based on our survey of your class, there is overwhelming support for an in-person, on-campus ceremony (even if it means the Spring of 2021) vs. a virtual ceremony. We are proceeding with planning for an on-campus ceremony based on your feedback.

You will be excited to hear that your caps and gowns are now on their way and you should receive them within the next week.  As part of that package, you will also receive a special gift from us: a Class of 2020 Stole!  Once received, I hope to see you share them proudly on social media (@wpeaceu Instagram) using #WPUGRAD2020.

As a reminder, spring degree conferral was completed at the end of May. Diplomas were shipped out to your designated address and you should receive those by August 1. Please contact the Office of the Registrar at if you have related questions.

My very best to you during these challenging times.  I know you have already started the next chapter of your lives and we are excited to see what you accomplish in the future!


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


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

Commencement Student Awards Dalena Han Nguyen - Commencement 2020

Commencement Student Awards Jason Andrew Pappalardo - Commencement 2020


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

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

All of your hard work and studying 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, Commencement and Baccalaureate Ceremony have been postponed and additional information will be shared when available.



Saturday, May 2, 2020 : POSTPONED
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
University Main Lawn


Friday, May 1, 2020 : POSTPONED
3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Holy Trinity Anglican Church (across from campus)

Info for Graduates

  • Regalia
    For those of you who have ordered your cap, gown, and tassel from Jostens, these items will be shipped to you at the address you supply (communications to come with this request).
  • 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 (Feb. 10-11th). This two-day event will be your first 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
    • 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.

Office of the Registrar
Main 108