WILSON, N.C. — Dr. Assad Meymandi, distinguished psychiatrist, humanist, scholar, and philanthropist will be the featured speaker at the 111th annual commencement exercises of Barton College scheduled for Sunday, May 12, on center campus at 1:30 p.m. Wilson Gymnasium is the rain site. Dr. Norval C. Kneten will preside over his tenth commencement program as president of Barton College. Dr. Kelly M. Thompson, interim provost and vice president for external relations, will present the graduating class of approximately 230 seniors.
Participating in this year’s commencement ceremony will be students who completed their baccalaureate degree requirements in December 2012 and May 2013, as well as candidates who expect to fulfill requirements over the summer.
The three highest honors presented to Barton students: the Coggins Cup, the Hilley Cup, and the Hemby Leadership Cup, will be awarded. The Coggins Cup is presented annually to the student voted best all-around by the Barton faculty and staff. The Hilley Cup is presented annually to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative grade point average. The Hemby Leadership Cup is presented to the graduating senior, who in the estimation of the college community (including students, faculty and staff) has demonstrated outstanding leadership throughout a career at Barton College.
The Jefferson-Pilot Faculty Member of the Year awards will also be presented. The awards, given annually to two faculty members, include a cash stipend for international study.
Whit D. Coolbaugh, class of 2002, president of the Barton College Alumni Association and its Alumni Board, will bring greetings to graduating seniors on behalf of the Alumni Association.
Barton’s Commencement Day program will begin with the baccalaureate service Sunday morning at 11 a.m. in Howard Chapel. The Reverend Hollie E. Woodruff, chaplain of the college, will officiate at the service and deliver the baccalaureate sermon.
Lunch will be served in the Hamlin Student Center Dining Hall from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at no charge for seniors and $5.00 each for family members and guests.
The Commencement festivities will include a picnic for seniors and their families on Saturday morning, May 11, at 11:30 a.m., hosted by Dr. and Mrs. Norval C. Kneten at the Barton-Graves House.
The pinning ceremony for the graduates of the School of Nursing will be held in Howard Chapel on the Barton College campus on Friday, May 10, at 7 p.m., followed by a reception in Hardy Alumni Hall for nursing graduates, their families, and friends.
About the speaker —
Dr. Meymandi earned a medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine and also holds Ph.D.s in biochemistry and philosophy, as well as an honorary doctoral degree in the humanities. A longtime resident of Raleigh, he is in private practice as a psychiatrist and neurologist, and serves as adjunct professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Dr. Meymandi also serves as visiting scholar and lecturer in “Medicine and Humanities” at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health.
He has endowed a Fellowship dedicated to the task of bridging the gap between the basic sciences and humanities at the National Humanities Center where he serves on the Board of Trustees. Among the NHC Meymandi Fellows is the world renowned neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks as well as Sir Patrick Bateson, Emeritus Professor of Ethology at Cambridge University and President of the Zoological Society of London; Dr. Helen Vendler, Harvard Professor of English; Nobel Laureate Sir Paul Nurse, President of Rockefeller University; and Edward O. Wilson, Harvard Professor of Entomology, Pulitzer Prize winner and father of Sociobiology.
Dr. Meymandi is currently building 200 housing units for the survivors of the Bam disaster in Iran, where 35,000 people were killed in Jan 2004. Upon completion, he will add a school and a community center.
An ardent supporter of education, he has endowed professorship chairs and also gives scholarships to bright and promising medical and conservatory students.
Dr. Meymandi also is a devoted patron of the arts. The 1800-seat, state-of-the-art Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh, which opened in 2001, was named by Dr. Meymandi to honor his mother, and the Meymandi Exhibition Gallery of the North Carolina Museum of Art, which opened in 2010, was named for his father.
Among his many awards and recognitions, Dr. Meymandi was honored in 2000 with the Raleigh Medal of Art, and, in 2002, he was appointed by Governor Easley to the Board of the North Carolina Arts Council. He was the recipient of the distinguished Order of the Longleaf Pine Award in 2004. More recently, The International Affairs Council chose Dr. Meymandi as The Citizen of the World in 2011, and, in 2012, the City of Raleigh honored him with induction into the Raleigh Hall of Fame.