CIAA Commissioner Addresses “The Winning Class of 2024” During FSU’s Spring Commencement

Date: May 11, 2024

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – Bronco parents, family, alumni and friends filled the Crown Coliseum Complex to cheer, clap and congratulate 1,016 new Fayetteville State University graduates, “the winning class of 2024,” during the 157th Spring Commencement on May 11. 

a filled Crown Coliseum Complex overlooking the FSU graduates during the 2024 Spring Commencement ceremony

 Chancellor Darrell T. Allison hi-fives graduates

Before CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams-Parker delivered a championship keynote address, the arena erupted as the graduates processioned to their seats donning the signature Bronco blue and white and draped in cords and stoles denoting the outstanding achievements. With a large FSU banner hanging behind, Chancellor Darrell T. Allison presided over the ceremony with “pride and joy” as he commended the “tenacity and determination” of each person soon to hear the name called.

“You have weathered the long days and nights of classes, exams, group projects, internships and study sessions – coupled with part-time jobs, family obligations and other personal situations,” said Chancellor Allison. “No matter the obstacle, big or small, you made it.”

Fire Science graduates wear the cap and fire helmets

FSU Graduate stands to cheer

Graduates described the day as rewarding, exciting and surreal. One group simply summed up their feelings as “finally.” Joining the ranks of graduates was Maya Martin, the 74th student government association president. “My class I am proud of you,” she said. “I can’t wait to see what you accomplish, the places you go and the people you impact.”

McWilliams-Parker equated commencement to a championship game and vigorously expressed the class of 2024 had already won. “You are winning Broncos,” she said to the class that overcame starting their collegiate career during a global pandemic. She reminded them that despite facing adversity “you were resilient.”

“You came to a winning institution with winning teams,” she said, “the No. 1 nursing program and the No. 1 HBCU producer of teachers in North Carolina.”

CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams-Parker speaking

McWilliams-Parker’s career with the CIAA began as a two-sport athlete at Hampton University, where she’s been inducted in the university’s hall of fame twice. She was a member of their 1988 NCAA Division II women’s basketball championship team. McWilliams-Parker also held various coaching and administrative roles with Virginia Union University, Norfolk State University and Morgan State University.

She concluded her remarks to 765 Broncos earning bachelor’s degrees, 241 Broncos earning master’s degrees and 10 Broncos earning doctoral degrees by saying, “everyone needs a team, you can never win this game of life alone.

“Your team covers you in prayer, affirms you when you are doubting, they encourage you, they push you to the finish, they hold you accountable, they are not jealous of you, they celebrate you and let you know when there is food on your face,” McWilliams-Parker said. “And as you get older and advance in the world, although your team may get smaller, your bronco team is for life. Count on us.”

  • Tags:
  • News