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Commencement Speakers


Dudley E. Flood

Fall Commencement Speaker

Dr. Dudley E. Flood
Retired School Administrator

Dudley E. Flood was born and reared in Winton, North Carolina.  Since 1970, Dr. Flood has lived in Raleigh, North Carolina

He began his career as a teacher of math, science and English at the eighth grade level. He later taught high school social studies and coached high school basketball and football. He served for three years as principal of a school covering grades 1-12 before joining the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction as a specialist in school desegregation and race relations.

During his 21 years of service with the Department of Public Instruction, Dr. Flood earned promotions first to Assistant and then Associate State Superintendent. After retiring from Public Instruction on December 31, 1990, he served for 5 years and 3 months as Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators. Since April 1996, he has been a lecturer and consultant to groups throughout the country.

Dr. Flood has been a Visiting Professor at Meredith College and at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and he currently teaches in the Principals Executive Program at the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Dudley Flood earned the bachelors degree from North Carolina Central University, the master's degree in educational administration from East Carolina University and the doctorate degree in the same field from Duke University. He has studied further at Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Hampton University.

Dr. Flood has spoken in all 100 of North Carolina's counties. Also, he has spoken or conducted workshops in 48 of the 50 United States, in Bermuda, the District of Columbia, Canada, and Germany. His writings have been published in more than 25 journals.

Dr. Flood has received more than 300 awards for civic service. He has been presented the Order of the Longleaf Pine Award (North Carolina's highest civic award), three different times from Governors James G. Martin, James B. Hunt, Jr., and Mike Easley. He has received the Outstanding Alumni Award from both North Carolina Central University and East Carolina University, and has received the Doctorate of Humane Letters from both North Carolina Central University and the University of North Carolina in Asheville.

Dr. Flood currently serves on the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina; the Substance Abuse Advisory Committee for the North Carolina Prison System; the Minority Cancer Awareness Action Team; and on several other boards and committees. He is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. He is also a member of Martin Street Baptist Church in Raleigh where he serves as Sunday School Teacher and as a member of the Leadership Council.  For fifty-five years, he was married to the late Barbara Thomas Flood who he credits with any success that he has experienced. 

Sharon Orlopp      

Spring Commencement Speaker

Sharon Orlopp
Global Chief Diversity Officer & Senior Vice President of Walmart Stores, Inc.

As Global Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President, Corporate HR, at Walmart, Sharon is responsible for advancing a diverse workforce with 2.2 million associates worldwide. Her current responsibilities include overseeing and leveraging global diversity and inclusion efforts, associate relations, and HR policy for the world’s largest retailer. Sharon joined Walmart in 2003 as Vice President, People. In 2004, she was promoted to Senior Vice President, People – Sam’s Club. Prior to joining the company, Sharon was Vice President of Human Resources for Gart Sports, where she was responsible for compensation, benefits, training, recruiting, public relations, and investor relations. Sharon also spent 17 years with Foot Locker, where she held various leadership positions in Operations and Human Resources. Sharon is an experienced human resource professional with a passion for diversity and for people. She has made it her mission to advance diversity initiatives, sponsor immersive learning trips and lead by example.

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