UNC and Duke hold commencement exercises Sunday

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — More than 10,000 participated as Duke and North Carolina both held commencement ceremonies on Sunday.

In Chapel Hill, CNN anchor and UNC alumna Brooke Baldwin delivered UNC’s commencement address to the more than 6,000 graduates.

In her speech, Baldwin said 60 percent of today’s graduates are female and 17 percent of the graduates are the first in their families to finish college.

Baldwin spoke about her career in journalism.

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“This is where my commitment to journalism was ignited. People believed in me. That’s the force that takes you beyond what you think you can do to what you can do. I call these people believers,” Baldwin said.

An empty chair with flowers in the first row paid tribute to students Carolina lost this year. The honor also paid tribute to Deah Barakat, who was a member of the class of 2017 who was murdered in 2015.

In Durham, thousands graduated from Duke on Sunday and it marked Richard Brodhead’s final commencement as president of the university.

“Class of 2017 you have enriched our university community with your ideas, your energy, your determination, and your spirit. It has been my privilege to serve as this university’s president. Congratulations to you all,” Brodhead said.

This was President Broadhead’s 13th Duke graduation as president.

He’s stepping down at the end of June.

Duke University awarded more than 5,300 degrees at Sunday’s ceremony.

Duke graduate, trustee and philanthropist David Rubenstein delivered the commencement address.

He recently gave $20 million to endow a scholarship program for first-generation low-income college students.

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