December 16, 2022
“Our voices, together, can change the world.” That was the message graduate Ciara Mitchell shared with her classmates during Mars Hill University’s commencement ceremony on Friday, December 16, 2022. The university conferred 64 bachelor’s degrees and 10 master’s degrees on students who completed their requirements in August or December.
“Our experience here, through both hardship and happiness, have given us the tools to make great change,” said Mitchell, a summa cum laude history and political science major from Fairview, North Carolina, who gave the student address. “When we walk out of these doors today, I challenge you not to lose your voice. Let us go forth and use our voices to make a change, to be a dissenting voice against injustice and oppression. The world we are about to enter needs our voices. Let our voices ring loud and let us shine in the dull world.”
Nichole Buckner, a Marshall, North Carolina, resident receiving a criminal justice master’s degree, delivered the invocation. Nicholas Skaggs, a cum laude music and psychology major from Gastonia, North Carolina, performed a musical selection on the organ.
University President Tony Floyd acknowledged the challenges the graduates have faced during their time at Mars Hill. “No doubt, it’s been an incredibly challenging time to seek a degree, but you’ve done it and you’re here today.”
“So much is ahead of you,” said Mike Kelly, a 1982 graduate of Mars Hill and chair of the university’s trustee board. “A blessing of a Mars Hill education is that you’re taught how to think, not what to think. That is invaluable in a complex world that’s ever-changing. I want to encourage you to be curious as you move forward. Have a growth mindset. And as you’re given responsibility, please seek to make things—and people—better than you found them.”
Degrees conferred at the commencement were the Master of Arts in Criminal Justice, Master of Education, Master of Management, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Social Work.