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Commencement Speaker Challenges Appalachian Students to “Choose Well”

BOONE–Dr. Roy Carroll challenged members of Appalachian State University’s Class of 2000 to make choices that strengthen self-discipline, self-respect, a sense of the sacred and a sense of shared purpose.

“We are the product of our choices, and true freedom consists not in doing as we please, but in doing as we choose,” Carroll advised graduates of Appalachian’s College of Arts and Sciences. “This is the most searching test of character–to resolutely and decisively take charge of ourselves, of our own lives, and to make something worthwhile out of them.”

Carroll retired as senior vice president and vice president for academic affairs for the University of North Carolina General Administration in December 1999. He served as professor and chairman of Appalachian’s Department of History from 1969 to 1979.

“If we would get through life unscathed by dishonor, we must have an ingrained sense of honor or self-respect,” Carroll said. “We must have some deep sense of our own worth, a conviction that our lives are worth too much to be wasted or thrown away.

“Every good woman and every good man strengthens society. Persons of integrity, by their very existence, rekindle the belief that as a people we can live above the level of moral squalor.”

Carroll pointed to society’s need for shared purpose. “Every single one of us should see ourselves as builders and maintainers of the values and purposes in our society,” he said. “Our individual freedom, our individual choices, must be tempered and shaped by a genuine sense of shared purpose.”

Appalachian Chancellor Frank Borkowski presented Carroll with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Appalachian.

The university’s six colleges and schools held individual ceremonies May 13 and 14. Approximately 1,500 undergraduate and 300 graduate students received diplomas.

Retired Army Gen. William W. Hartzog, a 1974 graduate of Appalachian, spoke to College of Fine and Applied Arts graduates. School of Music graduates heard from chancellor emeritus of Appalachian, Dr. John E. Thomas. Writer and former Charlotte news anchor Robert “Bob” Inman spoke to graduates from Appalachian’s Cratis D. Williams Graduate School. William C. Reynolds, president and CEO of Cypress Gardens spoke to graduates of the Walker College of Business. A video presentation produced by professor Jeff Fletcher was shown to College of Education graduates.

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