SOE News

Commencement 2014!

The Dean Smith Center was full of smiles and cheers when the School of Education held its 2014 Commencement ceremony in May.

The School conferred degrees to 280 students in the ceremony, held May 10.

Jim Merrill (A.B.Ed. ’73), superintendent of the Wake County Public School System, gave the commencement address, telling graduates and families that public schools today are not failing, but are accomplishing more than they ever have.

“Public schools today are graduating the highest percentage of students with the most sophisticated set of skills we have ever seen,” Merrill said. “We have never served and been so successful with students from so many countries, with so many needs, and with such differences.”

He continued: “North Carolina’s dropout rate is the lowest in its history. Its ACT scores are above the national average. According to an October 2013 report by the National Center for Education Statistics, North Carolina’s education system ranked among the top 11 in the world on eighth-grade math results.

“These are not the marks of a failing education system. You have been contributors to that success and will continue to do so.”

Merrill said schools today are going through great changes, with great potential. He called on graduates to help enable the coming changes that provide promise for even greater achievement.

“Your success will be in understanding that excellent teaching is a human activity, not a mere technical facilitation,” he said. “That is why there will always be the need for great teachers – the need for you.”


Click here to read a transcript of Jim Merrill's commencement address.


Watch Merrill's address below or on the School of Education's Youtube channel.

Click here to see Dean Bill McDiarmid's welcome address.


Photos from the 2014 Commencement ceremony are available on the School of Education’s Smugmug gallery. (Note that photo downloads from the Smugmug gallery are available for free.)